Skip to page content
USDA Forest Service

Research & Development Treesearch

Treesearch Home
About Treesearch
Contact Us
Research & Development
Forest Products Lab
International Institute of Tropical Forestry
Pacific Northwest
Pacific Southwest
Rocky Mountain
Southern Research Station
Help - We Participate  Government Made Easy

Global Forest Information Service

US Forest Service
P.O. Box 96090
Washington, D.C.

(202) 205-8333

You are here: Home / Search / Publication Information
Bookmark and Share

Publication Information

View PDF (769 KB)

Title: Differential abundance of microbial functional groups along the elevation gradient from the coast to the Luquillo Mountains

Author: Cantrell, Sharon A.; Lodge, D. Jean; Cruz, Carlos A.; García, Luis M.; Pérez-Jiménez, Jose R.; Molina, Marirosa.;

Date: 2013

Source: Ecological Bulletins. 54: 87-100.

Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Description: Microbial communities respond to multiple abiotic and biotic factors that change along elevation gradients. We compare changes in microbial community composition in soil and review previous research on differential abundance of microbial functional groups along an elevation gradient in eastern Puerto Rico. Previous studies within the Luquillo Mountains showed that activity of methanogenic bacteria increased significantly with elevation, whereas diversity, abundance or activity decreased with elevation in 'slime molds', microbial nitrogen-fixing activity (nitrogenase), and abundance of basidiomycete fungi that degrade lignin in leaf litter. Our results, based on fatty acid (FA) composition and TRFLP analyses from a longer gradient (dry coastal forest to elfin rainforest) produced humped distributions for Shannon diversity of FA, fungal to bacteria (F:B) ratios, fungi, Myxomycetes, G- FA cy19:0 and sulfate reducing bacteria (SRB) 10Me18:0. Soil microbial communities differed significantly among forest types using ANCOVA. TRFLP were more frequently unique to forest types in fungi than bacteria, but we found unique and diverse sulfidogenic and crenarchaeal assemblages in some forest types, with highest diversity in high elevation palm and elfin forests. In multiple linear regression (MLR) models, soil moisture was predictive for all but Actinomycete FA abundance, and forest type contributed significantly to these same models for F:B ratios and all FA fractions except for G- SRB 10Me18:0, and G+ bacteria 15:0. F:B ratio peaked at mid-elevation, then declined with increasing moisture at higher elevation. Since most G- and G+ bacterial FA were positively related to soil pH in MLR models, lower pH in mid-elevation tabonuco forest soil may suppress bacteria and contribute to higher F:B ratios in this forest type.

Publication Notes:

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • This publication may be available in hard copy. Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact Sharon Hobrla, if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.



Cantrell, Sharon A.; Lodge, D. Jean; Cruz,Carlos A.; García, Luis M.; Pérez-Jiménez, Jose R.; Molina, Marirosa. 2013. Differential abundance of microbial functional groups along the elevation gradient from the coast to the Luquillo Mountains. Ecological Bulletins. 54: 87-100.


 [ Get Acrobat ]  Get the latest version of the Adobe Acrobat reader or Acrobat Reader for Windows with Search and Accessibility

USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.