Knowledge of bacterial community host‐specificity has increased greatly in recent years. However, the intermicrobiome relationships of unrelated but spatially close organisms remain little understood. Trunks of trees covered by epiphytes represent complex habitats with a mosaic of ecological niches. In this context, we investigated the structure, diversity and interactions of microbiota associated with lichens, mosses and the bare tree bark. Comparative analysis revealed significant differences in the habitat‐associated community structures. Corresponding co‐occurrence analysis indicated that the lichen microbial network is less complex and less densely interconnected than the moss‐ and bark‐associated networks. Several potential generalists and specialists were identified for the selected habitats. Generalists belonged mainly to Proteobacteria, with Sphingomonas as the most abundant genus. The generalists comprise microorganisms with generally beneficial features, such as nitrogen fixation or other supporting functions, according to a metagenomic analysis. We argue that beneficial strains shared among hosts contribute to ecological stability of the host biocoenoses.
|Publication status||Published - 21 Feb 2017|