Microbial functional diversity in the phyllosphere and laimosphere of different desert plants

Varsik Martirosyan, Yosef Steinberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

Our aim was to determine the effect of plant ecophysiological adaptations on below-canopy (laimosphere or soil) and above-canopy (phyllosphere or leaf surface) microbial functional diversity and investigate potential correlations between biotic and abiotic factors in laimospheres and phyllospheres of three different desert halophyte shrubs with different ecophysiological adaptations: Atriplex halimus, Artemisa herba-alba, and Hammada scoparia. Soil and leaf samples were collected at two habitats from each shrub at the end of the dry season, while an interplant open area was used as control. Soil and leaf biotic and abiotic analyses were performed. The results demonstrated the importance of plant ecophysiological adaptations, which play an important role as abiotic environmental mediators and microbial-community 'temporary hosts', determining microbial biomass, CO2 evolution, functional diversity, and population size. Although the shrubs were observed as having a major effect on microbial functional diversity, more detailed study is needed that will use modern molecular-biology tools to investigate potential correlations between biotic and abiotic factors in order to evaluate their impact on microbial-species composition on a temporal/spatial basis. This will contribute to better understanding of the link between plant ecophysiological adaptation as a 'temporary host' and the biotic-community parameters in extreme xeric environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-33
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume107
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We wish to thank Mrs. Gineta Barness for technical assistance and Dr. Adi Oren for his useful advice. Special thanks to Ms. Sharon Victor for her helpful comments. This study was part of a research program funded by the UNESCO /Japan Young Researchers' Fellowship Programme, 2012 (UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowships Programme) to Ms. V. Martirosyan, and which covered her stay in Israel. The sponsor played no role in the study design, the collection, analysis, and interpretation of the data, the writing of the paper, or the decision to submit it for publication.

Keywords

  • Desert ecosystem
  • Phyllospheric microbial functional diversity
  • Soil microbial functional diversity
  • Substrate-utilization profile

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