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Multi-scale variation in spatial heterogeneity for microbial community structure in an eastern Virginia agricultural fieldTo better understand the distribution of soil microbial communities at multiple spatial scales, a survey was conducted to examine the spatial organization of community structure in a wheat field in eastern Virginia (USA). Nearly 200 soil samples were collected at a variety of separation distances ranging from 2.5 cm to 11 m. Whole-community DNA was extracted from each sample, and community structure was compared using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) DNA fingerprinting. Relative similarity was calculated between each pair of samples and compared using geostatistical variogram analysis to study autocorrelation as a function of separation distance. Spatial autocorrelation was found at scales ranging from 30 cm to more than 6 m, depending on the sampling extent considered. In some locations, up to four different correlation length scales were detected. The presence of nested scales of variability suggests that the environmental factors regulating the development of the communities in this soil may operate at different scales. Kriging was used to generate maps of the spatial organization of communities across the plot, and the results demonstrated that bacterial distributions can be highly structured, even within a habitat that appears relatively homogeneous at the plot and field scale. Different subsets of the microbial community were distributed differently across the plot, and this is thought to be due to the variable response of individual populations to spatial heterogeneity associated with soil properties. c2003 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Franklin, Rima B. (University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 22904-4123, United States)
Mills, Aaron L.
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2003
Publication Information
Publication: FEMS microbiology ecology
Volume: 44
Issue: 3
ISSN: 0168-6496
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
NASA Discipline Life Support Systems
Non-NASA Center