Endophytes often have dramatic effects on their host plants. Characterizing the relationships among members of these communities has focused on identifying the effects of single microbes on their host, but has generally overlooked interactions among the myriad microbes in natural communities as well as potential higher-order interactions. Network analyses offer a powerful means for characterizing patterns of interaction among microbial members of the phytobiome that may be crucial to mediating its assembly and function. We sampled twelve endophytic communities, comparing patterns of niche overlap between coexisting bacteria and fungi to evaluate the effect of nutrient supplementation on local and global competitive network structure. We found that, despite differences in the degree distribution, there were few significant differences in the global network structure of niche-overlap networks following persistent nutrient amendment. Likewise, we found idiosyncratic and weak evidence for higher-order interactions regardless of nutrient treatment. This work provides a first-time characterization of niche-overlap network structure in endophytic communities and serves as a framework for higher-resolution analyses of microbial interaction networks as a consequence and a cause of ecological variation in microbiome function.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank Lindsey K. Otto-Hanson for her dedicated work in collecting the data used in the analyses presented in this work. Funding support was provided from the U.S. National Science Foundation grants MSB-1241895 and DEB-1831944, as well as from the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station and U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute for Food and Agriculture grant 17-08222.
© 2021, The Author(s).
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
- Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.