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Ecological patterns of root nodule diversity in cultivated and wild rooibos populations: a community prediction approach

posted on 2022-06-10, 02:48 authored by Josep Ramoneda, Jaco Le Roux, Emmanuel Frossard, Beat Frey, Hannes Andres Gamper
There is interest in understanding the factors behind the biogeography of root-associated bacteria due to the joint effects that plant host, climate, and soil conditions can have on bacterial diversity. For legume crops with remaining wild populations, this is of even more importance, because the effects of cropping on undisturbed root-associated bacterial communities can be addressed. Here, we used a community prediction approach to describe the diversity of the root nodule bacterial communities of rooibos (Aspalathus linearis), an endemic legume crop from South Africa. The goal was to reveal whether patterns of root nodule community composition in paired cultivated and wild rooibos populations could be related to geographical distance, plant traits, and plant population type (i.e. cultivated or uncultivated). We identified a core of dominant and widespread Mesorhizobium ZOTUs that each defined one of 4 different root nodule community classes. Rooibos cultivation impacted root nodule bacterial diversity at regional and local scales, while the geographical origin of the root nodule communities was the strongest predictor of root nodule community structure. Beyond impacts of cultivation on root nodule bacterial diversity, this study suggests a mixture of dispersal limitation and ecological drift regionally, and selection by different plant populations locally, define the biogeography of rooibos root nodule bacterial communities.   


BAM data was de-multiplexed by bioinformatician (Weihong Qi ), via the Functional Genomics Center (FGC) in Zurich, the service that produced the reads. This individual is acknowledged in the manuscript related to this dataset.


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