Skip to main content

Lower functional redundancy in “narrow” than “broad” functions in global soil metagenomics...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Publication Date
Page Numbers
297 to 308

Understanding the relationship between soil microbial taxonomic compositions and functional profiles is essential for predicting ecosystem functions under various environmental disturbances. However, even though microbial communities are sensitive to disturbance, ecosystem functions remain relatively stable, as soil microbes are likely to be functionally redundant. Microbial functional redundancy may be more associated with “broad” functions carried out by a wide range of microbes than with “narrow” functions in which specific microorganisms specialize. Thus, a comprehensive study to evaluate how microbial taxonomic compositions correlate with broad and narrow functional profiles is necessary. Here, we evaluated soil metagenomes worldwide to assess whether functional and taxonomic diversities differ significantly between the five broad and the five narrow functions that we chose. Our results revealed that, compared with the five broad functions, soil microbes capable of performing the five narrow functions were more taxonomically diverse, and thus their functional diversity was more dependent on taxonomic diversity, implying lower levels of functional redundancy in narrow functions. Co-occurrence networks indicated that microorganisms conducting broad functions were positively related, but microbes specializing in narrow functions were interacting mostly negatively. Our study provides strong evidence to support our hypothesis that functional redundancy is significantly different between broad and narrow functions in soil microbes, as the association of functional diversity with taxonomy was greater in the five narrow than in the five broad functions.