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Yanli Yuan, Guicai Si, Jian Wang, Tianxiang Luo and Gengxin Zhang Bacterial community in alpine grasslands along an altitudinal gradient on the Tibetan Plateau FEMS Microbiology Ecology 87

Version of Record online: 30 SEP 2013 | DOI: 10.1111/1574-6941.12197

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The Tibetan Plateau, ‘the third pole’, is a region that is very sensitive to climate change. A better understanding of response of soil microbes to climate warming is important to predict soil organic matter preservation in future scenario. We selected a typically altitudinal gradient (4400–5200 m a.s.l) along south-facing slope of Nyaiqentanglha Mountains on central Tibetan Plateau. Bacterial communities were investigated using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis (T-RFLP). Redundancy analysis revealed that soil bacterial communities were significantly different along the large altitudinal gradient, though the dominant environmental driving factors varied at different soil depth. Specifically, our results showed precipitation and soil NH4+ were dominant environmental factors that influence bacterial communities at 0–5 cm depth along the altitudinal gradients, whereas pH was a major influential factor at 5–20 cm soil. In this semi-arid region, precipitation, rather than temperature, was a main driving force on soil bacterial communities as well as on plant communities. We speculate that an increase of temperature might not significantly change soil bacterial community structures along the large altitudinal gradient, whereas precipitation change would play a more important role in affecting soil bacterial communities.

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