Despite distinct roles of soil microbes in regulating carbon (C) respiration in diverse environments, it remains unclear whether microbial taxonomic and functional attributes can consistently predict soil C emissions across contrasting ecosystems. Here, we conducted a large-scale sampling event across two contrasting croplands (rice and wheat-corn crop rotation) to identify specific soil microbial phylotypes and functional genes associated with soil respiration rates. The results of structural equation modeling indicated that bacterial community composition had a strong link with C respiration rates in the two contrasting cropland types; however, this link was weaker for fungal communities. More importantly, we found that the relative abundances of bacterial Solirubrobacterales_480-2, Myxococcales_mle1-27 and fungal Westerdykella had consistently negative correlation with respiration rates across paddy and upland soils. We also identified taxa that are significantly correlated to C respiration in the paddy (e.g. Methylocaldum) and upland soils (e.g. Kribbella), respectively. Further, we found multiple associations between functional genes involved in microbial C metabolism and soil respiration rates. Our findings provide novel insights into understanding microbial predictors of soil CO2 emissions in diverse croplands, which have important implications for improving C emission predictions in terrestrial ecosystems.
Keywords: Bacteria; Carbon cycling; Functional gene; Metagenome; Microbial community; Prediction.
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