Ecological clusters of soil taxa within bipartite networks are highly sensitive to climatic conditions in global drylands

David S. Pescador*, Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Anna Maria Fiore-Donno, Brajesh K. Singh, Michael Bonkowski, Fernando T. Maestre

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Determining the influence of climate in driving the global distribution of soil microbial communities is fundamental to help predict potential shifts in soil food webs and ecosystem functioning under global change scenarios. Herein, we used a global survey including 80 dryland ecosystems from six continents, and found that the relative abundance of ecological clusters formed by taxa involved in bacteria-fungi and bacteria-cercozoa bipartite networks was highly sensitive to changes in temperature and aridity. Importantly, such a result was maintained when controlling for soil, geographical location and vegetation attributes, being pH and soil organic carbon important determinants of the relative abundance of the ecological clusters. We also identified potential global associations between important soil microbial taxa, which can be useful to support the conservation of terrestrial ecosystems under global change scenarios. Our results suggest that increases in temperature and aridity such as those forecasted for the next decades in drylands could potentially lead to drastic changes in the community composition of functionally important bipartite networks within soil food webs. This could have important but unknown implications for the provision of key ecosystem functions and associated services driven by the organisms forming these networks if other taxa cannot cope with them. This article is part of the theme issue 'Ecological complexity and the biosphere: the next 30 years'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20210387
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1857
StatePublished - Aug 15 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 The Author(s).


  • Aridity
  • Climate change
  • Co-occurrence networks
  • Modularity
  • Semiarid
  • Soil microorganisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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