Soil parameters, land use, and geographical distance drive soil bacterial communities along a European transect P Plassart, NC Prévost-Bouré, S Uroz, S Dequiedt, D Stone, R Creamer, … Scientific Reports 9 (1), 605
To better understand the relationship between soil bacterial communities, soil physicochemical properties, land use and geographical distance, we considered for the first time ever a European transect running from Sweden down to Portugal and from France to Slovenia. We investigated 71 sites based on their range of variation in soil properties (pH, texture and organic matter), climatic conditions (Atlantic, alpine, boreal, continental, Mediterranean) and land uses (arable, forest and grassland). 16S rRNA gene amplicon pyrosequencing revealed that bacterial communities highly varied in diversity, richness, and structure according to environmental factors. At the European scale, taxa area relationship (TAR) was significant, supporting spatial structuration of bacterial communities. Spatial variations in community diversity and structure were mainly driven by soil physicochemical parameters. Within soil clusters (k-means approach) corresponding to similar edaphic and climatic properties, but to multiple land uses, land use was a major driver of the bacterial communities. Our analyses identified specific indicators of land use (arable, forest, grasslands) or soil conditions (pH, organic C, texture). These findings provide unprecedented information on soil bacterial communities at the European scale and on the drivers involved; possible applications for sustainable soil management are discussed.