An international research team led by Jizhong Zhou, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Environmental Genomics at the University of Oklahoma, conducted a long-term experiment that found that climate warming reduces diversity and significantly alters soil community structure archaea.
At the microbiological level, life can be described as belonging to one of three kingdoms – how species are described in relation to each other. Eukarya contains complex organisms such as animals and plants and microorganisms such as fungi.
The other two categories, bacteria and archaea, consist only of microorganisms. Archaea predominate in a range of environments, from the most hostile, such as volcanoes and permafrost. However, archaea are also common in the human microbiome and as an important component of soil ecology.
“Since temperature is the main driver of biological processes, climate warming will affect various ecological communities,” Zhou said. “Based on long-term time-series data, our previous studies revealed that experimental warming leads to a different succession of soil bacterial and fungal communities, accelerates microbial temporal scaling, reduces the biodiversity of soil bacteria, fungi and protists, but increases the bacterial network. complexity and stability.
However, how climate warming affects archaeal community chronology remains elusive. Archaea are ubiquitous in soil and are vital to soil functions such as nitrification and methanogenesis.”
Using a long-term multifactorial experimental field site at OU’s Kessler Atmospheric and Ecological Field Station, researchers showed that experimental warming of a prairie grass ecosystem significantly altered the community structure of soil archaea and reduced their taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity.
Contrary to the scientists’ previous observations in bacteria and fungi, their findings show that climate warming is leading to a convergent sequence of the soil archaeal community, suggesting that archaeal community structures would become more predictable in a warmer world.