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Environmental controls on the landscape-scale biogeography of stream bacterial communities

Fierer, N, JL Morse, ST Berthrong, ES Bernhardt, RB Jackson
Journal Volume/Pages: 
88: 2162–2173

We determined the biogeographical distributions of stream bacteria and the biogeochemical factors that best explained heterogeneity for 23 locations within the Hubbard Brook watershed, a 3000-ha forested watershed in New Hampshire, USA. Our goal was to assess the factor, or set of factors, responsible for generating the biogeographical patterns exhibited by microorganisms at the landscape scale. We used DNA fingerprinting to characterize bacteria inhabiting fine benthic organic matter (FBOM) because of their important influence on stream nutrient dynamics. Across the watershed, streams of similar pH had similar FBOM bacterial communities. Streamwater pH was the single variable most strongly correlated with the relative distance between communities (Spearman’s ρ = 0.66, P

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