Synthetic Denitrifying Communities Reveal a Positive and Dynamic Biodiversity-Ecosystem Functioning Relationship during Experimental Evolution

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 May 8:e0452822. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.04528-22. Online ahead of print.


Biodiversity is vital for ecosystem functions and services, and many studies have reported positive, negative, or neutral biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships in plant and animal systems. However, if the BEF relationship exists and how it evolves remains elusive in microbial systems. Here, we selected 12 Shewanella denitrifiers to construct synthetic denitrifying communities (SDCs) with a richness gradient spanning 1 to 12 species, which were subjected to approximately 180 days (with 60 transfers) of experimental evolution with generational changes in community functions continuously tracked. A significant positive correlation was observed between community richness and functions, represented by productivity (biomass) and denitrification rate, however, such a positive correlation was transient, only significant in earlier days (0 to 60) during the evolution experiment (180 days). Also, we found that community functions generally increased throughout the evolution experiment. Furthermore, microbial community functions with lower richness exhibited greater increases than those with higher richness. Biodiversity effect analysis revealed positive BEF relationships largely attributable to complementary effects, which were more pronounced in communities with lower richness than those with higher richness. This study is one of the first studies that advances our understanding of BEF relationships and their evolutionary mechanisms in microbial systems, highlighting the crucial role of evolution in predicting the BEF relationship in microbial systems. IMPORTANCE Despite the consensus that biodiversity supports ecosystem functioning, not all experimental models of macro-organisms support this notion with positive, negative, or neutral biodiversity-ecosystem functioning (BEF) relationships reported. The fast-growing, metabolically versatile, and easy manipulation nature of microbial communities allows us to explore well the BEF relationship and further interrogate if the BEF relationship remains constant during long-term community evolution. Here, we constructed multiple synthetic denitrifying communities (SDCs) by randomly selecting species from a candidate pool of 12 Shewanella denitrifiers. These SDCs differ in species richness, spanning 1 to 12 species, and were monitored continuously for community functional shifts during approximately 180-day parallel cultivation. We demonstrated that the BEF relationship was dynamic with initially (day 0 to 60) greater productivity and denitrification among SDCs of higher richness. However, such pattern was reversed thereafter with greater productivity and denitrification increments in lower-richness SDCs, likely due to a greater accumulation of beneficial mutations during the experimental evolution.

PMID:37154752 | DOI:10.1128/spectrum.04528-22


Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Generated by Feedzy