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Temporal changes and alternating host tree root and shoot growth affect soil microbiomes
* 1, 2, 3 , 1, 4 , 1, 2, 4 , 1
1  Department of Soil Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Halle, Germany
2  Department of Biology II, Leipzig University, Leipzig, Germany
3  Department of Mathematics, Science and Physical Education, University of Rwanda, Kigali, Rwanda
4  German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany


Patterns of trees’ endogenous rhythmic growth (ERG) and paralleled C allocation shift between root and shoot systems have been studied, but there is still a need to understand their impact in shaping soil microbiomes. Moreover, impact of plants on soil microbial communities can be modulated or overweighed by time-induced plant and/or seasonal changes. Thus, we intended to analyze the structure of soil microbiomes as response to simultaneous alternated host tree root and shoot flushes and time-induced changes within one vegetation period at two sites in Central Germany. In this study, we utilized oak phytometers (Quercus robur L., clone DF159) as host trees, and made use of their ERG, whereby consecutive root and shoot flushes make a complete growth cycle. We studied two complete growth cycles during the same vegetation period, performed a non-destructive soil sampling and applied high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the bacterial 16S gene and the fungal ITS2 region. As C allocation shifts between the tree root and shoot, released root exudates and consequently the nutrient availability alternate for soil microorganisms. We therefore anticipated different microbial communities in the host tree root zone along the growth cycles until senescence. In our results, the bacterial community exhibited a directional change over time along the vegetation period. In contrast, the fungal community appeared sample specific. Our findings enlarge the current understanding of the temporal microbial assembly in the host tree root zone.

Keywords: Tree endogenous rhythmic growth; Microbial community structure; Bacteria; Fungi; Time-induced changes; Tree root zone; Quercus robur L.