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Nat Commun. 2016 Jul 5;7:12083. doi: 10.1038/ncomms12083.

Temperature mediates continental-scale diversity of microbes in forest soils.

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State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
Institute for Environmental Genomics, Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology and School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73019, USA.
Earth Science Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, California 94270, USA.
CAS Key Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, 100085, China.
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona 85721, USA.
The Santa Fe Institute, USA, 1399 Hyde Park Rd, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501, USA.
EEB Graduate Program, Department of Biology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA.
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Balboa 0843-03092, Republic of Panama.
Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.


Climate warming is increasingly leading to marked changes in plant and animal biodiversity, but it remains unclear how temperatures affect microbial biodiversity, particularly in terrestrial soils. Here we show that, in accordance with metabolic theory of ecology, taxonomic and phylogenetic diversity of soil bacteria, fungi and nitrogen fixers are all better predicted by variation in environmental temperature than pH. However, the rates of diversity turnover across the global temperature gradients are substantially lower than those recorded for trees and animals, suggesting that the diversity of plant, animal and soil microbial communities show differential responses to climate change. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study demonstrating that the diversity of different microbial groups has significantly lower rates of turnover across temperature gradients than other major taxa, which has important implications for assessing the effects of human-caused changes in climate, land use and other factors.

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