In new work out last week, Jarrett working with colleagues showed that the genotype of different subspecies of Phragmites australis not only sets up sometimes *very* different communities of microbes, but ultimately determines local ecosystem function and plant performance. These genotype-microbe associations can be nearly identical even when plants are hundreds of kilometers apart. These results stand in stark contrast to the idea that microbes should respond to species, not subspecies, and that soil processes and how they affect plant growth should be setup by microbes. That, and they show the heavy impact that highly invasive genotypes of Phrag can have on whole ecosystems. Nope, it’s dominance of ecological processes by Phrag genotypes all the way down!
Bowen, J.L., Kearns, P.J., Byrnes, J.E.K., Wigginton, S., Allen, W.J., Greenwood, M., Tran, K., Yu, J., Cronin, J.T., Meyerson, L.A., 2017. Lineage overwhelms environmental conditions in determining rhizosphere bacterial community structure in a cosmopolitan invasive plant. Nature Communications 8, 501. [doi]