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Relating Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity among Denitrifiers and Quantifying their Capacity to Predict Community Functioning

Abstract : Genetic diversity of phylogenetic or functional markers is widely used as a proxy of microbial diversity. However, it remains unclear to what extent functional diversity (FD), gene sequence diversity and community functioning are linked. For a range of denitrifying bacteria, we analyzed the relationships between (i) the similarity of functional traits evaluated from metabolic profiles (BIOLOG plates) or from N2O accumulation patterns on different carbon sources and (ii) the similarity of phylogenetic (16S rRNA gene) or functional (nir gene) markers. We also calculated different proxies for the diversity of denitrifier community based on taxa richness, phylogenetic (16S rRNA gene) or functional similarities (based either on metabolic profiles or N2O accumulation patterns), and evaluated their performance in inferring the functioning of assembled denitrifying communities. For individual strains, the variation in the 16S rRNA gene sequence was weakly correlated with the variation in metabolic patterns (rho = 0.35) and was not related to N2O accumulation. The latter was correlated with the similarity of nitrite reductase residues. When nir genes were analyzed separately, the similarity in amino acids coded by the nirS genes was highly correlated with the observed patterns of N2O accumulation (rho = 0.62), whereas nirK amino acid residues were unrelated to N2O accumulation. For bacterial assemblages, phylogenetic diversity (average similarity among species in a community) and mean community dissimilarity (average distance between species) calculated using 16S rRNA gene sequences, and FD measures associated with metabolic profiles, poorly predicted the variation in the functioning of assembled communities (<= 15%). In contrast, the proxies of FD based on N2O accumulation patterns performed better and explained from 23 to 42% of the variation in denitrification. Amongst those, community niche was the best metric, indicating the importance of complementanty for resources in the context of bacterial community functioning.
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Joana Falcao Salles, Xavier Le Roux, Franck Poly. Relating Phylogenetic and Functional Diversity among Denitrifiers and Quantifying their Capacity to Predict Community Functioning. Frontiers in Microbiology, Frontiers Media, 2012, 3, pp.1-15. ⟨10.3389/fmicb.2012.00209⟩. ⟨hal-02532817⟩

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