Global homogenization of the structure and function in the soil microbiome of urban greenspaces

Published on Jul 1, 2021in Science Advances13.116
· DOI :10.1126/SCIADV.ABG5809
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Abstract
The structure and function of the soil microbiome of urban greenspaces remain largely undetermined. We conducted a global field survey in urban greenspaces and neighboring natural ecosystems across 56 cities from six continents, and found that urban soils are important hotspots for soil bacterial, protist and functional gene diversity, but support highly homogenized microbial communities worldwide. Urban greenspaces had a greater proportion of fast-growing bacteria, algae, amoebae, and fungal pathogens, but a lower proportion of ectomycorrhizal fungi than natural ecosystems. These urban ecosystems also showed higher proportions of genes associated with human pathogens, greenhouse gas emissions, faster nutrient cycling, and more intense abiotic stress than natural environments. City affluence, management practices, and climate were fundamental drivers of urban soil communities. Our work paves the way toward a more comprehensive global-scale perspective on urban greenspaces, which is integral to managing the health of these ecosystems and the well-being of human populations.
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