School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

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Land‐use practices impact soil microbial functionality and biodiversity, with reports suggesting that anthropogenic activities potentially result in reduced microbial functions and loss of species. The objective of this study was to assess the effect of long‐term (>50 yr) land use (natural forest and grassland, and agricultural land) on soil bacterial community structure. A high‐throughput sequencing‐by‐synthesis approach of the 16S rRNA gene was used to study bacterial community and predicted functional profiles of Alfisols, as affected by variables including land‐use (forest, grass, agricultural) and soil/crop management (rotation and tillage) in long‐term experimental plots in Hoytville, OH. The distribution of the abundant phyla was different across samples. No‐till soils showed higher diversity indices than the plow‐till (PT) soils. Ordinations across locations suggested that no‐till soils had distinctly different community structure compared with plow‐till soils, while crop rotation within the no‐till plot had highest number of taxa. Overall land use (forest, grass, agronomic treatment) and tillage (within agricultural soils) were found to be significant when evaluating bacterial community dissimilarity. Predictive functional profiles showed that the forest soil had greatest proportion of PICRUSt‐assignable gene functions followed by the no‐till and grassland soils whereas plow‐till soils had the lowest predicted gene abundances across all samples. The results provide a view of soil bacterial diversity and predictive functional capacity in long‐term land‐use and soil/crop management practices, with a potential to inform future experiments to increase our understanding of long‐term impacts of land use on microbial community structure and function.


© 2020 The Authors. Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. on behalf of Crop Science Society of America and American Society of Agronomy. Original published version available at

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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Agrosystems, Geosciences & Environment




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