Genomic and Applied Microbiology

Research project:

SFB 990: Ecological and socioeconomic functions of tropical lowland rainforest transformation systems (Sumatra, Indonesia)

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Project group B02: Impact of rainforest transformation on phylogenetic and functional diversity of soil prokaryotic communities in Sumatra (Indonesia)

Prokaryotes are the most abundant and diverse group of microorganisms in soil. They are important for most nutrient transformations in soil and major drivers of biogeochemical cycles. In this subproject, the impact of lowland rainforest transformation on diversity and ecosystem function of soil prokaryotic communities will be investigated.
To identify changes in indigenous gene- and taxon-specific patterns and key metabolic functions accompanying rainforest transformation, comparative phylogenetic and functional profiling of soil samples from lowland rainforest, jungle rubber, rubber plantations, and oil palm plantations will be performed. For this purpose, culture-independent metagenomic and metatranscriptomic approaches are employed. The changes in the species richness, abundance, and distribution of phylogenetic groups and key functions of soil prokaryotic communities along transformation systems will be assessed and compared by bar-coded amplicon sequencing of prokaryotic 16S rRNA genes, and deep sequencing of mRNA (cDNA) isolated from the core sites. The functional analysis will include a general functional profile. Special emphasis will be on functions involved in the biogeochemical N cycle. Changes in diversity and abundance of genes encoding known key enzymes of the N cycle are also monitored by PCR-based approaches.
All data are correlated with soil attributes, environmental conditions, and biotic data gathered by the other subprojects. Together with joint experiments investigating the effects of gap enrichment of oil palm plantations on biodiversity and ecosystem function, the proposed project will contribute to unravel the composition and functioning of the belowground system along the different transformation systems..

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