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Journal of Arid Land  2016, Vol. 8 Issue (2): 241-253    DOI: 10.1007/s40333-015-0061-9
Research Articles     
Diversity of endophytes across the soil-plant continuum for Atriplex spp. in arid environments
Mohammad E TAHTAMOUNI1, Sa’eb KHRESAT2, Mary LUCERO1, Jesus SIGALA1,3, Adrian UNC1,4,5*
1 New Mexico State University, Department of Plant & Environmental Sciences, Las Cruces NM 88003, USA;
2 Jordan University of Science and Technology, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Irbid 22110, Jordan;
3 Seco Spice, Chamberino NM 88027, USA; 
4 Boreal Ecosystems Research Initiative, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Corner Brook A2H 5G4, Canada;
5 University of Leeds, School of Geography, Leeds LS2 9JT, UK
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Abstract  Endophytes are hypothesized to be transferred across the soil-plant continuum, suggesting both the transfers of endophytes from environment to plant and from plant to soil. To verify this hypothesis and to assess the role of locality, we evaluated the similarity of microbial communities commonly found both in soils and endophytic communities in three arid regions, i.e. the Jornada LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) site in New Mexico, USA, and the research station of Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) and Khanasri research station in Badia region of Jordan. Rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere soils, leaves and seeds of Atriplex spp. were sampled. Diversity and distribution of bacteria and fungi across the soil-plant continuums were assessed by tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing and sequence alignment. Of the total bacterial OTUs (operational taxonomic units), 0.17% in Khanasri research station, 0.16% in research station of JUST, and 0.42% in Jornada LTER site were commonly found across all the plant and soil compartments. The same was true for fungi in two regions, i.e. 1.56% in research station of JUST and 0.86% in Jornada LTER site. However, in Khanasri research station, 12.08% of total fungi OTUs were found in at least one soil compartment and one plant compartment. Putative Arthrobacter, Sporosarcina, Cladosporium and members of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were found across all the soil-plant continuums. Ascomycota, mainly including Didymellaceae, Pleosporaceae and Davidiellaceae were present across all the soil-plant continuums. Microbial communities in two regions of Jordan were similar to each other, but both of them were different from the Jornada LTER site of USA. SIMPER (similarity percentage) analysis of bacterial and fungal taxa for both soil and endophyte communities revealed that dissimilarities of two bacterial genera (Arthrobacter and Sporosarcina) and two fungal genera (Cladosporium and Alternaria) are very high, so they play key roles in the soil-plant continuums. A weighed Pearson correlation analysis for the specific bacterial OTUs in the soil-plant continuums only showed high similarity between the two regions of Jordan. However, fungal groups showed higher similarities among all regions. This research supports the hypothesis of continuity of certain bacterial and fungal communities across the soil-plant continuums, and also explores the influences of plant species and geographic specificity on diversity and distribution of bacteria and fungi.

Key wordsdegradation      climatic trends      extensive livestock production      dryland agriculture      rangeland restoration     
Received: 25 April 2015      Published: 01 April 2016
Corresponding Authors: Adrian UNC     E-mail:
Cite this article:

Mohammad E TAHTAMOUNI, Sa’eb KHRESAT, Mary LUCERO, Jesus SIGALA, Adrian UNC. Diversity of endophytes across the soil-plant continuum for Atriplex spp. in arid environments. Journal of Arid Land, 2016, 8(2): 241-253.

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