Meta-analysis of the impacts of global change factors on soil microbial diversity and functionality

Published by Stephanie Mayer on

Biodiversity on the Earth is changing at an unprecedented rate due to a variety of global change factors (GCFs). However, the effects of GCFs on microbial diversity is unclear despite that soil microorganisms play a critical role in biogeochemical cycling. Here, we synthesize 1235 GCF observations worldwide and show that microbial rare species are more sensitive to GCFs than common species, while GCFs do not always lead to a reduction in microbial diversity. GCFs-induced shifts in microbial alpha diversity can be predominately explained by the changed soil pH. In addition, GCF impacts on soil functionality are explained by microbial community structure and biomass rather than the alpha diversity. Altogether, our findings of GCF impacts on microbial diversity are fundamentally different from previous knowledge for well-studied plant and animal communities, and are crucial to policy-making for the conservation of microbial diversity hotspots under global changes.