Short description of research activities in CRC 990:

The aim of the B02 subproject is to identify and analyze how increased agricultural land use affects prokaryotic communities. In soil, microorganisms play a significant role in different nutrient cycles and nutrient transformation. Therefore, they are strongly connected to the lifestyle of higher organisms like fungi and plants. Due to this connection, bacterial and archaeal communities in soil play a major role in nutrient availability for plants and thus are a remarkable factor in agriculture. In this subproject, prokaryotic communities in soils of different agricultural systems (oil palm plantations, rubber plantations and secondary rainforest) on Sumatra, Indonesia will be studied and analyzed. Furthermore, questions concerning the impact of different management types regarding fertilization, weeding and herbicide application will also be addressed.

In order to investigate prokaryotic community structures and analyze their functional profiles, state of the art molecular biological methods and bioinformatics will be employed. This includes 16S rRNA marker gene analysis as well as shotgun sequencing of entire metagenomes and metatranscriptomes. Sequence and statistical analysis will be performed by using multiple software packages (e.g. QIIME, Usearch, Tax4fun, Kraken, metafast, R).
In addition to the foregoing, issues regarding functional gene redundancy associated to nutrient cycling and comparative analyses with other sub-projects and previous phases will be addressed. These analyses will give insight into prokaryotic community dynamics in different agricultural land use systems. Furthermore, they will reveal general functional patterns of prokaryotes in agricultural soils and secondary rainforests and eventually contribute to deciphering of important mechanisms for agricultural land use in tropical environments.