Variations in bacterial and archaeal communities along depth profiles of Alaskan soil cores

Binu Mani Tripathi, Mincheol Kim, Yongwon Kim, Eunji Byun, Ji Woong Yang, Jinho Ahn, Yoo Kyung Lee

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65 Citations (Scopus)


Understating the microbial communities and ecological processes that influence their structure in permafrost soils is crucial for predicting the consequences of climate change. In this study we investigated the bacterial and archaeal communities along depth profiles of four soil cores collected across Alaska. The bacterial and archaeal diversity (amplicon sequencing) overall decreased along the soil depth but the depth-wise pattern of their abundances (qPCR) varied by sites. The community structure of bacteria and archaea displayed site-specific pattern, with a greater role of soil geochemical characteristics rather than soil depth. In particular, we found significant positive correlations between methane trapped in cores and relative abundance of methanogenic archaeal genera, indicating a strong association between microbial activity and methane production in subsurface soils. We observed that bacterial phylogenetic community assembly tended to be more clustered in surface soils than in deeper soils. Analyses of phylogenetic community turnover among depth profiles across cores indicated that the relative influence of deterministic and stochastic processes was mainly determined by soil properties rather than depth. Overall, our findings emphasize that the vertical distributions of bacterial and archaeal communities in permafrost soils are to a large extent determined by the variation in site-specific soil properties.

Original languageEnglish
Article number504
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 1

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© 2017 The Author(s).

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