Plant host and plant diversity effects on rhizosphere microbial community composition, diversity, structure, and function
Experiment Id

Effects of plant host and plant community diversity on soil rhizosphere microbial community composition, diversity, structure, and function were explored in long-term experimental plots in the E120 Biodiversity II: Effects of Plant Biodiversity on Population and Ecosystem Processes experiment. Elucidating the forces that structure and maintain microbial diversity is one of the central tasks of the discipline of microbial ecology. While the importance of abiotic environmental characteristics, biotic interactions, and stochastic events (e.g. immigration, colonization sequence) have been highlighted , our understanding of the determinants of microbial community structure and composition remains limited. For soil microbial communities, pH , parent material , and plant community or host plant genotype have all been shown to be important correlates of community structure. In this work, we extend the focus on host plant effects to test the hypothesis that plant community characteristics modulate the impacts of a given host plant species on associated soil microbial communities.

from: Bakker, M. G., J. M. Bradeen, and L. L. Kinkel. 2013. Effects of plant host species and plant community richness on streptomycete community structure. FEMS microbiology ecology 83:596-606.   

Experiment Design

In 2009 soil samples were collected from the rhizosphere of three individual plants of one of 4 target plant species (Andropogon gerardii, Schizachyrium scoparium, Lespedeza capitata, or Lupinus perennis) growing in 1, 4, 8, 16, or 32-species plots. Pathogen-suppressive activities of soil streptomycetes were determined for every sample using culture-based approaches. In addition, soil microbiome analyses using amplicon sequencing were performed targeting bacterial or streptomycete communities. Soil chemical characteristics were determined for every sample. Analyses consider both the effects of plant host and plant community diversity on microbial community structure and function, and the relationships of diverse taxa with plant host, plant community diversity, and soil edaphic characteristics.

Treatment Tables

Download treatment tables (zip file)


View data in the Data Catalog

Resulting sequence data are available in the NCBI Sequence Read Archive,,  SRA Database under accession SRA019985.

Select Publications

Disease suppressive soils: new insights from the soil microbiome
D Schlatter, L Kinkel, L Thomashow, D Weller, T Paulitz
2017 Phytopathology 107 (11), 1284-1297

Plant community richness and microbial interactions structure bacterial communities in soil
DC Schlatter, MG Bakker, JM Bradeen, LL Kinkel
2014 Ecology 96 (1), 134-142

Antibiotics: Conflict and communication in microbial communities
DC Schlatter, LL Kinkel
2014 Microbe 9 (7), 282-288