Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Distribution of British soil bacteria mapped for the first time

Date:
April 19, 2011
Source:
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology
Summary:
Britain's soil bacteria have been mapped for the first time in the most comprehensive study of a country's soil biodiversity to date. To complete the map the scientific team analyzed over 1,000 soil cores from England, Scotland and Wales, examining microbial DNA sequences in the laboratory to map bacterial biodiversity.

Britain's soil bacteria have been mapped for the first time in the most comprehensive study of a country's soil biodiversity to date. The results are published April 20, 2011 in the journal Environmental Microbiology.

To complete the map the scientific team, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH), Newcastle University and the University of Oxford, analysed over 1000 soil cores from England, Scotland and Wales, examining microbial DNA sequences in the laboratory to map bacterial biodiversity.

The research was carried out using samples collected for the Countryside Survey project coordinated by (CEH).

The study concluded that bacterial diversity was strongly related to soil pH with acidic soils dominated by few taxa (groups of organisms). Below ground bacterial and above ground plant communities were closely related suggesting that soil bacteria are driven by the same ecological processes that govern higher organisms such as plants.

Bacteria constitute a major portion of the biodiversity in soils and play an essential role in maintaining the health of soil processes which underpin many valuable ecosystem services, including crop production and soil carbon storage.

Lead author Dr Robert Griffiths from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology said, "Until now our understanding of how bacterial communities vary across the landscape has been extremely limited. Our results provide the first large scale assessment of bacterial communities across Britain's soils and provide a baseline to further explore the complex relationships between soil bacterial biodiversity and ecosystem services. The new research has revealed how microbial distributions in British soils are linked to both soil pH and plant type. "

Co-author Professor Andy Whiteley, also from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, "People don't really think about bacteria in soils when they walk across a field or a park, they are microscopic and hidden from view, but the numbers are truly impressive; one footprint covers around 10 billion bacterial cells. Bacteria are central to maintaining essential functions which we take for granted, such as soil fertility and cycling green house gases."

Professor Whiteley added, "In our new study we've pulled back the Earth's skin to reveal how and why bacteria in the soil varies across the landscape. To our surprise it appears that the same ecological processes that operate above ground, also seem to determine what happens below ground. We're also beginning to understand the key functions that these hidden communities perform for us."

Soil samples and DNA used in the study have been frozen providing a resource for future studies looking at the impacts of climate change on diversity and soil processes.

Co-author Professor Mark Bailey, Acting Director of the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said, "CEH produced the first British national flood risk map in 1996. 15 years later we've produced the first soil microbial map for any country in the world. This year we will make the samples and raw data from the study available to other researchers, allowing the wider community to explore the exact functions that each of the thousands of species in every gram of soil carry out."

The work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. "Distribution of British soil bacteria mapped for the first time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419205530.htm>.
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. (2011, April 19). Distribution of British soil bacteria mapped for the first time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419205530.htm
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology. "Distribution of British soil bacteria mapped for the first time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110419205530.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

San Diego Zoo Welcomes New, Rare Rhino Calf

Reuters - US Online Video (July 21, 2014) An endangered black rhino baby is the newest resident at the San Diego Zoo. Sasha Salama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

Shark Sightings a Big Catch for Cape Tourism

AP (July 21, 2014) A rise in shark sightings along the shores of Chatham, Massachusetts is driving a surge of eager vacationers to the beach town looking to catch a glimpse of a great white. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

$23.6 Billion Awarded To Widow In Smoking Lawsuit

Newsy (July 20, 2014) Cynthia Robinson claims R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company hid the health and addiction risks of its products, leading to the death of her husband in 1996. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins