Low‐salinity transitions drive abrupt microbial response to sea‐level change
The salinisation of many coastal ecosystems is underway and is expected to continue into the future because of sea-level rise and storm intensification brought about by the changing climate. However, the response of soil microbes to increasing salinity conditions within coastal environments is poorly understood, despite their importance for nutrient cascading, carbon sequestration and wider ecosystem functioning. Here, we demonstrate deterioration in the productivity of a top-tier microbial group (testate amoebae) with increasing coastal salinity, which we show to be consistent across phylogenetic groups, salinity gradients, environment types and latitude. Our results show that microbial changes occur in the very early stages of marine inundation, presaging more radical changes in soil and ecosystem function and providing an early warning of coastal salinisation that could be used to improve coastal planning and adaptation.
Authors: Whittle, Alex ORCID record for Alex Whittle, Barnett, Robert L., Charman, Dan J., Gallego‐Sala, Angela V., Vries, Franciska