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https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-39
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-39
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: research article 04 Mar 2020

Submitted as: research article | 04 Mar 2020

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Permafrost thawing exhibits a greater influence on bacterial richness and community structure than permafrost age in Arctic permafrost soils

Mukan Ji1,2, Weidong Kong1,2,3, Chao Liang4, Tianqi Zhou1,2, Hongzeng Jia1,2, and Xiaobin Dong5 Mukan Ji et al.
  • 1Key Laboratory of Alpine Ecology, Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100101, China
  • 2College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, China
  • 3CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
  • 4Institute of Applied Ecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenyang, 110016, China
  • 5State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource Ecology, College of Resources Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China

Abstract. Global warming accelerates permafrost thawing and changes permafrost microbial community structure, but little is known about how microorganisms in permafrost with different ages respond to thawing. Herein, we disentangled the relative importance of permafrost age (young, medium, old, and ancient) spanning from 50 to 5,000 yr and thawing status (active, transitional, and permanently frozen) in shaping bacterial community structure using Hiseq sequencing of the 16S rRNA gene. Our results revealed significant influences of both permafrost thawing and age on bacterial richness. The bacterial richness was significantly higher in the young and thawed permafrost, and the richness increase was mainly observed in Firmicutes, Actinobacteria, Chloroflexi, Deltaproteobacterai, and Alphaproteobacteria. Permafrost thawing led to a gradual change in bacterial community structure and increased the contribution of determinism to shape the bacterial community assembly. Permutational analysis of variance demonstrated that thawing significantly changed bacterial community structure at all soil ages, but the community convergence due to permafrost thawing was not observed. Structural equation modeling revealed that permafrost thawing exhibited a greater influence on both bacterial richness and community structure than permafrost age. Our results indicate that microorganisms in permafrost with different ages respond differently to thawing, which eventually leads to distinct bacterial community compositions and different soil organic carbon degradation processes during permafrost thawing.

Mukan Ji et al.

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Short summary
Old permafrost soils usually have more carbohydrates, while the younger contain more aliphatic carbons, which substantially impacts soil bacterial community. However, little is known about how permafrost age and thawing drive microbial community. We found that permafrost thawing significantly increased bacterial richness in young permafrost, and changed soil bacterial compositions at all ages. This suggests that thawing results in distinct bacterial species, and alters soil carbon degradation.
Old permafrost soils usually have more carbohydrates, while the younger contain more aliphatic...
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