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Purpose Despite the important role of soil ammonia-oxidizing microorganisms (AOM) in the biogeochemical cycle of nitrogen, a unified view of the factors driving their spatial pattern of abundance and genetic diversity in terrestrial ecosystems is still lacking. The objective of this study was to explore whether abundance and genetic diversity of AOM follow the existing diversity of habitat types of the NATURA2000. Materials and methods We evaluated the relative abundance of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and archaea (AOA), as well as their genetic diversity in pastoral landscapes of an eastern Mediterranean island. Focusing on six different NATURA2000 habitat types of Crete, the study of AOM was based on culture-independent techniques, while vegetation and soil data of each habitat type were also collected and incorporated in the analysis. Results and discussion Our results suggest that the relative abundances of soil AOB and AOA in the pastoral landscapes of Crete are related to a limited number of soil factors, while their genetic diversity patterns are mainly explained by the dominant woody plant families, and partially by the soil parameters, but do not match the habitat types of the NATURA2000 scheme. Conclusions The variation of genetic diversity of soil AOM is not predicted
Journal of Soils and Sediments – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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