Document Type


Original Publication Date


Journal/Book/Conference Title

Frontiers In Microbiology



DOI of Original Publication



Originally published at

Date of Submission

April 2016


Salinity is a major driver of bacterial community composition across the globe. Despite growing recognition that different bacterial species are present or active at different salinities, the mechanisms by which salinity structures community composition remain unclear. We tested the hypothesis that these patterns reflect ecological coherence in the salinity preferences of phylogenetic groups using a reciprocal transplant experiment of fresh- and saltwater wetland soils. The salinity of both the origin and host environments affected community composition (16S rRNA gene sequences) and activity (CO2 and CH4 production, and extracellular enzyme activity). These changes in community composition and activity rates were strongly correlated, which suggests the effect of environment on function could be mediated, at least in part, by microbial community composition. Based on their distribution across treatments, each phylotype was categorized as having a salinity preference (freshwater, saltwater, or none) and phylogenetic analyses revealed a significant influence of evolutionary history on these groupings. This finding was corroborated by examining the salinity preferences of high-level taxonomic groups. For instance, we found that the majority of α- and γ-proteobacteria in these wetland soils preferred saltwater, while many β-proteobacteria prefer freshwater. Overall, our results indicate the effect of salinity on bacterial community composition results from phylogenetically-clustered salinity preferences.


Copyright © 2015 Morrissey and Franklin. 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) or licensor 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.

Is Part Of

VCU Biology Publications

image 1.pdf (225 kB)
Proportion of phylotypes within each salinity preference across the dominant phylogenetic clades. Data are means ± 95% confidence intervals produced from bootstrapping. Each line represent the expected random value (% of total phylotypes in each preference category), a deviation from random indicates a tendency for or against the preference.

Included in

Biology Commons