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Front. Microbiol. | doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2018.03122

Niche separation of ammonia oxidizers in mudflat and agricultural soils along the Yangtze River, China

 Xue Zhou1, 2*, Bolun Li3,  Zhiying Guo4 and  Zhiyuan Wang5
  • 1Hohai University, China
  • 2State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, China
  • 3Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, China
  • 4Institute of Soil Science (CAS), China
  • 5Nanjing Hydraulic Research Institute, China

Nitrification driven by ammonia oxidizers is a key step of nitrogen removal in estuarine environments. Spatial distribution characteristics of ammonia-oxidizers have been well understood in mudflats, but less studied in the agricultural soils next to mudflats, which also plays an important role in nitrogen cycling of the estuarine ecosystem. In the present research, we investigated ammonia oxidizers’ distributions along the Yangtze River estuary in Jiangsu Province, China, sampling soils right next to the estuary (mudflats) and the agricultural soils 100m away. We determined the relationship between the abundance of amoA genes of ammonia-oxidizing archaea (AOA) and ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) and the potential nitrification rates of the mudflats and agricultural soils. We also identified the environmental variables that correlated with the composition of the ammonia oxidizers’ communities by 16S rRNA pyrosequencing. Results indicated that agricultural soils have significantly higher potential nitrification rates as well as the AOA abundance, and resulted in strong phylogenetic clustering only in AOA communities. The ammonia oxidizers’ community compositions differed dramatically among the mudflat and agricultural sites, and stochasticity played a dominant role. The AOA communities were dominated by the Group 1.1a cluster at the mudflat, whereas the 54D9 and 29i4 clusters were dominant in agriculture soils. The dominant AOB communities in the mudflat were closely related to the Nitrosospira lineage, whereas the agricultural soils were dominated by the Nitrosomonas lineage. Soil organic matter and salinity were correlated with the ammonia oxidizers community compositions.

Keywords: Agricultural practice, Mudflat, ammonia-oxidizing archaea, ammonia-oxidizing bacteria, MNTD

Received: 13 Aug 2018; Accepted: 03 Dec 2018.

Edited by:

Andreas Ulrich, Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF), Germany

Reviewed by:

Huaiying Yao, Institute of Urban Environment (CAS), China
Marcus A. Horn, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany  

Copyright: © 2018 Zhou, Li, Guo and Wang. 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(s) 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: Dr. Xue Zhou, Hohai University, Nanjing, 210098, Jiangsu Province, China,