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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.00226

Impervious surfaces alter soil bacterial communities in urban areas: a case study in Beijing, China

 Yin H. Hu1, 2, Xiao l. Dou1, 2, 3,  Juan y. Li1, 3 and  Feng Li1, 2*
  • 1University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS), China
  • 2Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences (CAS), China
  • 3Yantai Institute of Coastal Zone Research (CAS), China

The rapid expansion of urbanization has caused land cover change, especially the increasing area of impervious surfaces. Such alterations have significant effects on the soil ecosystem by impeding the exchange of gases, water, and materials between soil and the atmosphere. It is unclear whether impervious surfaces have any effects on soil bacterial diversity and community composition. In the present study, we conducted an investigation of bacterial communities across five typical land cover types, including impervious surfaces (concrete), permeable pavement (bricks with round holes), shrub coverage (Buxus megistophylla Levl.), lawns (Festuca elata Keng ex E. Alexeev), and roadside trees (Sophora japonica Linn.) in Beijing, to explore the response of bacteria to impervious surfaces. The soil bacterial communities were addressed by high-throughput sequencing of the bacterial 16S rRNA gene. We found that Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Chloroflexi, and Firmicutes were the predominant phyla in urban soils. Soil from impervious surfaces presented a lower bacterial diversity, and differed greatly from other types of land cover. Soil bacterial diversity was predominantly affected by Zn, dissolved organic carbon (DOC), and soil moisture content (SMC). The composition of the bacterial community was similar under shrub coverage, roadside trees, and lawns, but different from beneath impervious surfaces and permeable pavement. Variance partitioning analysis showed that edaphic properties contributed to 12% of the bacterial community variation, heavy metal pollution explained 3.6% of the variation, and interaction between the two explained 33% of the variance. Together, our data indicate that impervious surfaces induced changes in bacterial community composition and decrease of bacterial diversity. Interactions between edaphic properties and heavy metals were here found to change the composition of the bacterial community and diversity across areas with different types of land cover, and soil properties play a more important role than heavy metals.

Keywords: Impervious surfaces, bacterial community, 16S rRNA gene sequencing, Urbanization, Land cover types

Received: 15 Oct 2017; Accepted: 30 Jan 2018.

Edited by:

Marja Tiirola, University of Jyväskylä, Finland

Reviewed by:

Henrik R. Nilsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Jincai Ma, Jilin University, China  

Copyright: © 2018 Hu, Dou, Li and Li. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Prof. Feng Li, Research Center for Eco-environmental Sciences (CAS), Beijing, China,