Afforestation of moorland leads to changes in crenarchaeal community structure

Graeme William Nicol, C. D. Campbell, S. J. Chapman, James Ivor Prosser

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36 Citations (Scopus)


Group 1 Crenarchaeota are an abundant component of soil microbial communities. A number of distinct lineages have been discovered, and the Group 1.1b lineage is present in most soil types. Others, such as the Group 1.1c lineage, may be restricted to specific soil types, such as acidic forest soils. To determine the effects of afforestation on the Archaea of moorland soils, archaeal community structure was examined across three parallel 180 m transects, running from open heather moorland into a Scots pine forest. Communities were characterized using a combination of cloning and denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) analysis of 16S rRNA reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction products. Although forest soils selected for a reproducibly distinct crenarchaeal community structure from moorland soils, both habitats contained similar populations, indicated by comigrating DGGE bands. Archaeal communities in soils of both ecosystems were dominated by Group 1.1c crenarchaea, and reproducible differences in community structure within this lineage were observed between forest and moorland soils. The findings indicate that the afforestation of moorland soils can lead to changes in crenarchaeal community structure with a potential impact on ecosystem function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-59
Number of pages8
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2007


  • Crenarchaeota
  • Archaea
  • forest soil
  • afforestation
  • 16S rRNA
  • Boreal forest
  • Scots Pine
  • ribosomal-RNA
  • bulk soil
  • archaea
  • diversity
  • roots
  • PCR
  • environments
  • rizosphere


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