Science China Earth Sciences

, Volume 62, Issue 5, pp 853–862 | Cite as

Elevational patterns of abundant and rare bacterial diversity and composition in mountain streams in the southeast of the Tibetan Plateau

  • Keshao Liu
  • Tandong Yao
  • Yongqin LiuEmail author
  • Baiqing Xu
  • Anyi Hu
  • Yuying Chen
Research Paper


Elevational gradients are powerful ‘natural laboratory’ for testing the responses of microbes to geophysical influences. Microbial communities are normally composed of a few abundant and many rare taxa. Abundant and rare taxa play different ecological roles in kinds of environments, but how their diversity and composition patterns response to elevation gradients is still poorly elucidated. In this study, we investigated the elevational patterns of abundant and rare bacterial diversity and composition in a mountain stream from 712 to 3435 m at Gangrigabu Mountain on the Tibetan Plateau, China. Our results revealed abundant and rare bacteria had similar decreasing elevation trend of alpha diversity, and both of them showed a significant elevational distance-decay relationship. However, the turnover rate of the elevational distance-decay of rare bacteria was higher than that of abundant bacteria. The species-abundance distribution patterns of rare taxonomic composition were associated with the elevational gradient, while most of abundant bacterial clades did not display any relationships with elevation. Our results suggested that rare bacteria were more sensitive to changes in elevation gradient.


Rare bacteria Diversity patterns Elevation gradients Mountain stream 


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This work was financially supported by the International Partnership Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences (Grant No. 131C11KYSB20160061) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41425004).

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keshao Liu
    • 1
    • 4
  • Tandong Yao
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Yongqin Liu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  • Baiqing Xu
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Anyi Hu
    • 5
  • Yuying Chen
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Tibetan Environment Changes and Land Surface ProcessesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.CAS Center for Excellence in Tibetan Plateau Earth SciencesChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Alpine Ecology and BiodiversityChinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Key Laboratory of Urban Pollutant Conversion, Institute of Urban EnvironmentChinese Academy of SciencesXiamenChina

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