Temporal and spatial impact of Spartina alterniflora invasion on methanogens community in Chongming Island, China.
Methane production by methanogens in wetland is recognized as a significant contributor to global warming. Spartina alterniflora (S. alterniflora), which is an invasion plant in China's wetland, was reported to have enormous effects on methane production. But studies on shifts in the methanogen community in response to S. alterniflora invasion at temporal and spatial scales in the initial invasion years are rare. Sediments derived from the invasive species S. alterniflora and the native species Phragmites australis (P. australis) in pairwise sites and an invasion chronosequence patch (4 years) were analyzed to investigate the abundance and community structure of methanogens using quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) cloning of the methyl-coenzyme M reductase A (mcrA) gene. For the pairwise sites, the abundance of methanogens in S. alterniflora soils was lower than that of P. australis soils. For the chronosequence patch, the abundance and diversity of methanogens was highest in the soil subjected to two years invasion, in which we detected some rare groups including Methanocellales and Methanococcales. These results indicated a priming effect at the initial invasion stages of S. alterniflora for microorganisms in the soil, which was also supported by the diverse root exudates. The shifts of methanogen communities after S. alterniflora invasion were due to changes in pH, salinity and sulfate. The results indicate that root exudates from S. alterniflora have a priming effect on methanogens in the initial years after invasion, and the predominate methylotrophic groups (Methanosarcinales) may adapt to the availability of diverse substrates and reflects the potential for high methane production after invasion by S. alterniflora.