On July 29, 2019, an article on the results of the research by Zhao Xinfeng and Dr. HaoYiqi, was published in the ISME Journal, an internationally leading academic journal in the field of microbial ecology with an SCI impact factor of 9.493  in 2018. The article was entitled: “Local Biotic Interactions Drive Species-specific Divergence in Soil Nacterial Communities.” With an abundance-manipulation experiment that was conducted in a semi-arid grassland, the study describes the role of local biotic interactions in the soil bacterial community composition.


South China Normal University co-authored the study with Beijing Normal University. The first author of this article is Zhao Xinfeng, a postdoctoral student in the team led by Professor Shu Wensheng at the Institute of Ecological Science of the School of Life Sciences of SCNU, and the corresponding author is Dr. HaoYiqi, a young top-notch professor and a member of China’s Thousand Talent Program for Young Outstanding Scientists.

Here follows a brief introduction to the research. In their work, the researchers manually increased the abundance of six randomly chosen resident bacterial species in separate, closed, communities and allowed the communities to recover in situ for 1 year. The single episode of increase in the abundance of different species drove species-specific community divergence accompanied by a decline in local diversity. Four of the six added species caused a decrease in the abundance of their closely related species, suggesting an important role of interspecific competition in driving the observed community divergence. Their results also suggested a lack of effective population regulations to force the relative abundance of manipulated species to revert to original level, which would allow persistence of the divergence among soil bacterial communities. They concluded that biotic interactions were important in determining soil bacterial community composition, which could result in substantial variation in an abiotically homogenous environment.

Translated by Huang Mengxiao

Proofread by Edwin Baak 

Reviewed by Li Jianru

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