Balanced stochastic versus deterministic assembly processes benefit diverse yet uneven ecosystem functions in representative agroecosystems

Wenjing Liu, Emily B. Graham, Yang Dong, Linghao Zhong, Jianwei Zhang, Chongwen Qiu, Ruirui Chen, Xiangui Lin, Youzhi Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Ecological assembly processes, by influencing community composition, determine ecosystem functions of microbiomes. However, debate remains on how stochastic versus deterministic assembly processes influence ecosystem functions such as carbon and nutrient cycling. Towards a better understanding, we investigated three types of agroecosystems (the upland, paddy, and flooded) that represent a gradient of stochastic versus deterministic assembly processes. Carbon and nutrient cycling multifunctionality, characterized by nine enzymes associated with soil carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur cycling, was evaluated and then associated with microbial assembly processes and co-occurrence patterns of vital ecological groups. Our results suggest that strong deterministic processes favour microorganisms with convergent functions (as in the upland agroecosystem), while stochasticity-dominated processes lead to divergent functions (as in the flooded agroecosystem). To benefit agroecosystems services, we speculate that it is critical for a system to maintain balance between its stochastic and deterministic assembly processes (as in the paddy agroecosystem). By doing so, the system can preserve a diverse array of functional traits and also allow for particular traits to flourish. To further confirm this speculation, it is necessary to develop a systematic knowledge beyond merely characterizing general patterns towards the associations among community assembly, composition, and ecosystem functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)391-404
Number of pages14
JournalEnvironmental microbiology
Volume23
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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