Dove, N. C., et al., 2021. mSphere

Assembly of the Populus microbiome is temporally dynamic and determined by selective and stochastic factors

Nicholas C. Dove, Allison M. Veach, Wellington Muchero, Toni Wahl, James C. Stegen, Christopher W. Schadt, and Melissa A. Cregger
9 June 2021, mSphere 6(3): e01316-20;


Recent work shows that the plant microbiome, particularly the initial assembly of this microbiome, influences plant health, survival, and fitness. Here, we characterize the initial assembly of the Populus microbiome across ten genotypes belonging to two poplar species in a common garden using 16S rRNA gene and ITS2 region amplicon sequencing of the leaf endosphere, leaf surface, root endosphere, and rhizosphere. We sampled these microbiomes three times throughout the first growing season and found that the composition of the microbiome changed dramatically over time across all plant-associated habitats and host genotypes. For archaea and bacteria, these changes were dominated by strong homogenizing selection (accounting for 29 to 62% of pairwise comparisons). However, fungal assembly was generally characterized by multiple ecological assembly processes (i.e., a mix of weak selective and dispersal processes). Interestingly, genotype, while a significant moderator of microbiome composition, generally explained less variation than sample date across plant-associated habitats. We defined a set of core genera that accounted for, on average, 36% of the microbiome. The relative abundance of this core community was consistent over time. Additionally, using source tracking modeling, we determined that new microbial taxa colonize from both aboveground and belowground sources, and combined with our ecological assembly null models, we found that both selective and dispersal processes explained the differences between exo- (i.e., leaf surface and rhizosphere) and endospheric microbiomes. Taken together, our results suggest that the initial assembly of the Populus microbiome is time-, genotype-, and habitat- dependent and is moderated by both selective and stochastic factors.


Dove NC, Veach AM, Muchero W, Wahl T, Stegen JC, Schadt CW, Cregger MA. 2021. Assembly of the Populus microbiome is temporally dynamic and determined by selective and stochastic factors. mSphere 6: e01316-20.

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