The ecological assembly of bacterial communities in Antarctic wetlands varies across levels of phylogenetic resolution.
Quiroga, M. V., Valverde, A., Mataloni, G., Casa, V., Stegen, J. C. and Cowan, D.
Instituto Tecnologico de Chascomus (INTECH, UNSAM - CONICET), Chascomus, Argentina.
Instituto de Recursos Naturales y Agrobiologia de Salamanca (IRNASA-CSIC), Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Salamanca, Spain.
Instituto de Investigacion e Ingenieria Ambiental (IIIA, UNSAM-CONICET), San Martin, Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Ecosystem Science Team, Richland, WA, USA.
Centre for Microbial Ecology and Genomics (CMEG), Department of Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.
As functional traits are conserved at different phylogenetic depths, the ability to detect community assembly processes can be conditional on the phylogenetic resolution; yet most previous work quantifying their influence has focused on a single level of phylogenetic resolution. Here, we have studied the ecological assembly of bacterial communities from an Antarctic wetland complex, applying null models across different levels of phylogenetic resolution (i.e. clustering ASVs into OTUs with decreasing sequence identity thresholds). We found that the relative influence of the community assembly processes varies with phylogenetic resolution. More specifically, selection processes seem to impose stronger influence at finer (100% sequence similarity ASV) than at coarser (99%-97% sequence similarity OTUs) resolution. We identified environmental features related with the ecological processes and propose a conceptual model for the bacterial community assembly in this Antarctic ecosystem. Briefly, eco-evolutionary processes appear to be leading to different but very closely related ASVs in lotic, lentic and terrestrial environments. In all, this study shows that assessing community assembly processes at different phylogenetic resolutions is key to improve our understanding of microbial ecology. More importantly, a failure to detect selection processes at coarser phylogenetic resolution does not imply the absence of such processes at finer resolutions.
Environmental Microbiology : en prensa (2022)