The stage of soil development modulates rhizosphere effect along a High Arctic desert chronosequence

Francesca Mapelli, Ramona Marasco, Marco Fusi, Barbara Scaglia, George Tsiamis, Eleonora Rolli, Stilianos Fodelianakis, Kostas Bourtzis, Stefano Ventura, Fulvia Tambone, Fabrizio Adani, Sara Borin*, Daniele Daffonchio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


In mature soils, plant species and soil type determine the selection of root microbiota. Which of these two factors drives rhizosphere selection in barren substrates of developing desert soils has, however, not yet been established. Chronosequences of glacier forelands provide ideal natural environments to identify primary rhizosphere selection factors along the changing edaphic conditions of a developing soil. Here, we analyze changes in bacterial diversity in bulk soils and rhizospheres of a pioneer plant across a High Arctic glacier chronosequence. We show that the developmental stage of soil strongly modulates rhizosphere community assembly, even though plant-induced selection buffers the effect of changing edaphic factors. Bulk and rhizosphere soils host distinct bacterial communities that differentially vary along the chronosequence. Cation exchange capacity, exchangeable potassium, and metabolite concentration in the soil account for the rhizosphere bacterial diversity. Although the soil fraction (bulk soil and rhizosphere) explains up to 17.2% of the variation in bacterial microbiota, the soil developmental stage explains up to 47.7% of this variation. In addition, the operational taxonomic unit (OTU) co-occurrence network of the rhizosphere, whose complexity increases along the chronosequence, is loosely structured in barren compared with mature soils, corroborating our hypothesis that soil development tunes the rhizosphere effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1188-1198
Number of pages11
JournalISME Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 International Society for Microbial Ecology.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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