Wood Decay Characteristics and Interspecific Interactions Control Bacterial Community Succession in Populus grandidentata (Bigtooth Aspen)

Eiko Eurya Kuramae, Márcio Fernandes Alves Leite, Afnan K. A. Suleiman, Christopher Michael Gough, Buck Castillo, Lewis Faller, Rima Franklin, John Syring (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
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Few studies have investigated bacterial community succession and the role of bacterial decomposition over a continuum of wood decay. Here, we identified how (i) the diversity and abundance of bacteria changed along a chronosequence of decay in Populus grandidentata (bigtooth aspen); (ii) bacterial community succession was dependent on the physical and chemical characteristics of the wood; (iii) interspecific bacterial interactions may mediate community structure. 459 taxa were identified through Illumina sequencing of 16S rRNA amplicons from samples taken along a continuum of decay, representing standing dead trees, downed wood, and soil. Community diversity increased as decomposition progressed, peaking in the most decomposed trees. While a small proportion of taxa displayed a significant pattern in regards to decay status of the host log, many bacterial taxa followed a stochastic distribution. Changes in the water availability and chemical composition of standing dead and downed trees and soil were strongly coupled with shifts in bacterial communities. Nitrogen was a major driver of succession and nitrogen-fixing taxa of the order Rhizobiales were abundant early in decomposition. Recently downed logs shared 65% of their bacterial abundance with the microbiomes of standing dead trees while only sharing 16% with soil. As decay proceeds, bacterial communities appear to respond less to shifting resource availability and more to interspecific bacterial interactions – we report an increase in both the proportion (+9.3%) and the intensity (+62.3%) of interspecific interactions in later stages of decomposition, suggesting the emergence of a more complex community structure as wood decay progresses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2019.00979
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • international
  • Microbial community ecology
  • facilitation
  • interspecific interaction
  • wood decomposition
  • wood microbiome
  • 16S rRNA


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