Resolving broad patterns of prokaryotic community structure in New Zealand pasture soils

posted on 17.10.2019 by Rachel A. Kaminsky, Steve A. Wakelin, Matthew P. Highton, Md Sainur Samad, Sergio E. Morales

The importance of pasture soils to the New Zealand economy and global food security cannot be understated. Additionally, the importance of soil biodiversity to soil ecosystem functioning and, consequently, food production is becoming apparent. Despite this, our understanding of soil biodiversity is still developing. Here, we review the literature on soil microbial communities inhabiting pasture soils across New Zealand in order to summarise the key properties that impact microbial distributions. This work also includes an examination of 16S rRNA sequencing data from 92 pasture sites. The goal of this examination is to re-test the properties identified in the review on a prokaryote-focused dataset generated by contemporary techniques. Results from this work indicate that pH strongly influences soil microbial communities on a landscape scale, and that this conclusion can be drawn using a range of experimental methods. Geographic region, land use and soil classification serve as secondary modifiers, indicating that these factors may interact resulting in the broad impact of pH.


RAK was funded through a Callaghan Innovation education fellowship (MMSOU1301) and Mainland Minerals Ltd. SAW was funded by Ballance Agri-nutrients (Project number C10X0601). MSS and SEM were funded by the New Zealand Fund for Global Partnerships in Livestock Emissions Research (agreement number: 16084).