2013 Volume 59 Issue 6 Pages 451-461
Relatively little information is available regarding the variability of microbial communities inhabiting deeper soil layers. We investigated the distribution of soil microbial communities down to 1.2 m in 5-year-old Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Idaho’ soil by 454 sequencing of the 16S RNA gene. The average number of sequences per sample was 12,802. The Shannon and Chao 1 indices revealed various relative microbial abundances and even distribution of microbial diversity for all evaluated sample depths. The predicted diversity in the topsoil exceeded that of the corresponding subsoil. The changes in the relative abundance of the major soil bacterial phyla showed decreasing, increasing, or no consistent trends with respect to sampling depth. Despite their novelty, members of the new candidate phyla OD1 and TM7 were widespread. Environmental variables affecting the bacterial community within the environment appeared to differ from those reported previously, especially the lack of detectable effect from pH. Overall, we found that the overall relative abundance fluctuated with the physical and chemical properties of the soil, root system, and sampling depth. Such information may facilitate forest soil management.