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    Research Team Led by Prof. Xu Jianming Discovers Geographic Patterns of Co-occurrence Network Topological Features for Soil Microbiota


    The research team led by Prof. Xu Jianming in the College of Environmental and Resource Sciences, Zhejiang University, published its latest research findings titled “Geographic patterns of co-occurrence network topological features for soil microbiota at continental scale in eastern China” in The ISME Journal by the Nature Publishing Group on January 15, 2016.

    Soil microbiota play a critical role in soil biogeochemical processes and exert a profound effect on soil functions. Recent studies have revealed microbial co-occurrence patterns in soil microbial communities, but the geographic patterns of topological features in soil microbial co-occurrence networks at the continental scale remain primarily unknown. Researchers investigated the shifts of topological features in co-occurrence networks inferred from soil microbiota along a continental scale in eastern China. By integrating archaeal, bacterial and fungal community datasets, researchers inferred a meta-community co-occurrence network and analyzed node-level and network-level topological shifts associated with five climatic regions. Both node-level and network-level topological features revealed geographic patterns wherein microorganisms in the northern regions had closer relationships but had a lower interacting influence than those in southern regions. They further identified topological differences associated with taxonomic groups and demonstrated that co-occurrence patterns were random for archaea and non-random for bacteria and fungi. Given that microbial interactions may contribute to soil functions more than species diversity, this geographic shift of topological features provides new insights into studying microbial biogeographic patterns, their organization and impacts on soil-associated functions.