Exotic plant Alnus trabeculosa alters the composition and diversity of native rhizosphere bacterial communities of Phragmites australis.
Alnus trabeculosa, a rhizobia-nodulating tree, was introduced into the Chongxi tidal wetland in the Yangtze River estuary of China to increase the biodiversity of plants and restore tidal wetland functions. However, the effect of the introduced plant on soil bacterial communities and restoration outcomes remains unknown. In this study, the rhizosphere bacterial community structure and diversity were compared between Phragmites australis monospecific community and A. trabeculosa-P. australis mixed communities, aiming to assess whether A. trabeculosa influenced the rhizosphere bacterial communities of P. australis and to investigate whether different taxonomic groups within a soil community may respond similarly to the presence of an introduced exotic plant. Among the 14 phylogenetic phyla detected, Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria were the dominant bacterial taxa in the rhizosphere. Phylogenetic analysis of the predominant Proteobacteria showed that the clones from the rhizosphere soils of A. trabeculosa and P. australis in A. trabeculosa-P. australis mixed communities were more diverse than those in the rhizosphere soil of P. australis in P. australis monospecific community. The rhizosphere community in the wetland potentially included active microbial community related to carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur cycling in the Yangtze River estuary. The rhizosphere soil of P. australis in A. trabeculosa-P. australis mixed communities exhibited the highest Shannon diversity index (H′) and Simpson diversity index (1/D) (H=4.52, 1/D= 253). Correspondence analyses revealed that the bacterial community structures were altered after A. trabeculosa was introduced.