Absence of stress-promoted facilitation coupled with a competition decrease in the microbiome of ephemeral saline lakes

Mateu Menéndez-Serra, Vicente J. Ontiveros, Albert Barberán, Emilio O. Casamayor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Salinity fluctuations constitute a well-known high stress factor strongly shaping global biological distributions and abundances. However, there is a knowledge gap regarding how increasing saline stress affects microbial biological interactions. We applied the combination of a probabilistic method for estimating significant co-occurrences/exclusions and a conceptual framework for filtering out associations potentially linked to environmental and/or spatial factors, in a series of connected ephemeral (hyper) saline lakes. We carried out a network analysis over the full aquatic microbiome—bacteria, eukarya, and archaea—under severe salinity fluctuations. Most of the observed co-occurrences/exclusions were potentially explained by environmental niche and/or dispersal limitation. Co-occurrences assigned to potential biological interactions remained stable, suggesting that the salt gradient was not promoting interspecific facilitation processes. Conversely, co-exclusions assigned to potential biological interactions decreased along the gradient both in number and network complexity, pointing to a decrease of interspecies competition as salinity increased. Overall, higher saline stress reduced microbial co-exclusions while co-occurrences remained stable suggesting decreasing competition coupled with lack of stress-gradient promoted facilitation in the microbiome of ephemeral saline lakes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalEcology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • aquatic microbiome
  • microbial interactions
  • network analysis
  • salt gradient
  • stress gradient hypothesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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