Organization:Wuhan Botanical Garden
Research Reveals the Spatial Pattern and Driving Mechanism of Biodiversity in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau
The spatial pattern and driving mechanism of biodiversity along elevational gradients are key topics in ecology. Compared to macroorganisms (plants, animals), microorganisms (bacteria, fungi, functional microorganisms) in soils are extremely diverse and abundant globally and play a crucial role in regulating numerous ecological processes and functions. Previous studies have found that the species diversity of microorganisms varies with altitude, but few studies have explored the relationship between the phylogenetic diversity of microorganisms and altitude gradients, especially in high-altitude and cold regions.
Aquatic Ecosystem Processes Group of Wuhan Botanical Garden investigated the species and phylogenetic diversity of plants and soil microbes (bacteria, fungi, nitrifiers, denitrifiers, methanogens, and methanotrophs) in 36 riverine, lacustrine, and palustrine wetland sites on the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.
The findings demonstrate that microbial functional groups (denitrifiers, methanogens, and methanotrophs) do not follow the elevational diversity pattern of plants, bacteria, and fungi. Furthermore, it illustrates that the effects of elevation on species and phylogenetic diversity of plants and soil microbes are mainly mediated through changes in temperature rather than precipitation.
These findings highlight the importance of elevation and temperature in driving the diversity of plants, bacteria, and fungi but not soil microbial functional groups in Qinghai-Tibetan alpine wetlands.
Overall, these results fill a critical gap in our understanding of the multidimensional diversity of different microbial groups in Qinghai-Tibetan alpine wetlands and provide additional insights into how different microbial groups may respond to climate change.
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the National Science & Technology Fundamental Resources Investigation Program of China. The relevant results have been published in iScience entitled “Temperature drives elevational diversity patterns of different types of organisms in Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau wetlands”.
Changes in plant, bacterial, and fungal diversity across the elevational gradient. The solid lines and confidence intervals show predicted relationships and 95% confidence intervals from polynomial models, respectively (Image by WBG)
Changes in diversity of microbial functional groups across the elevational gradient. The solid lines show predicted relationships from polynomial models. The solid lines and confidence intervals show predicted relationships and 95% confidence intervals from polynomial models, respectively (Image by WBG)