Front Microbiol. 2022 Dec 22;13:1031496. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2022.1031496. eCollection 2022.
INTRODUCTION: Grasslands harbor complex bacterial communities, whose dynamic interactions are considered critical for organic matter and nutrient cycling. However, less is known about how changes in precipitation impact bacterial interactions.
METHODS: We conducted precipitation manipulation experiments in the Eastern Eurasian Steppe in China and constructed co-occurrence networks for bacterial communities.
RESULTS: The network topological features of the bacterial communities exhibited considerable differences among increased precipitation, control, and decreased precipitation gradients. The bacterial co-occurrence pattern in the increased precipitation gradient was the most complex and stable, with a large network size, followed by those of the control and decreased precipitation gradients. Soil moisture (SM) was the primary factor influencing the complexity, size, and stability of bacterial networks across different precipitation gradients, followed by total nitrogen (TN), belowground biomass, aboveground biomass, and total carbon (TC).
DISCUSSION: Our results indicate that drought conditions reduce the complexity and stability of the bacterial community, and future changes in precipitation will greatly reshape bacterial interactions in semiarid grasslands. Overall, these findings could enhance our understanding of how microbes respond to changing precipitation patterns by regulating their interactions in water-limited ecosystems and will improve our ability to predict the impacts of precipitation regime change on ecosystem nutrient cycling and feedback between ecosystem processes and global climate change.