Landscape structure is a key driver of soil protist diversity in meadows in the Swiss Alps


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Landscape structure is a key driver of soil protist diversity in meadows in the Swiss Alps
Landscape Ecology
Seppey C.V.W., Lara E., Broennimann O., Guisan A., Malard L., Singer D., Yashiro E., Fournier B.
Publication state
In Press
Context: Human-induced changes in landscape structure are among the main causes of biodiversity loss. Despite their important contribution to biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, microbes - and particularly protists - remain spatially understudied. Soil microbiota are most often driven by local soil properties, but the influence of the surrounding landscape is rarely assessed.
Objectives: We assessed the effect of landscape structure on soil protist alpha and beta diversity in meadows in the western Swiss Alps.
Methods: We sampled 178 plots along an elevation gradient representing a broad range of environmental conditions and land-use. We measured landscape structure around each plot at 5 successive spatial scales (i.e. neighbourhood windows of increasing radius, ranging from 100 to 2000 m around a plot). We investigated the changes of protist alpha and beta diversity as a function of landscape structure, local environmental conditions and geographic distance.
Results: Landscape structures played a key role for protist alpha and beta diversity. The percentage of meadows, forests, or open habitats had the highest influence among all landscape metrics. The importance of landscape structure was comparable to that of environmental conditions and spatial variables, and increased with the size of the neighbourhood window considered.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that dispersal from neighbouring habitats is a key driver of protist alpha and beta diversity which highlight the importance of landscape-scale assembly mechanisms for microbial diversity. Landscape structure emerges as a key driver of microbial communities which has profound implications for our understanding of the consequences of land-use change on soil microbial communities and their associated functions.
land-use change, landscape, microbial ecology, grassland, soils
Create date
04/12/2022 18:43
Last modification date
05/12/2022 6:51
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