Previous studies on the bacteria associated with the bryophytes showed that there were abundant bacteria inhabited in/on these hosts. However, the type of bacteria and whether these discriminate between different bryophytes based on a particular factor remains largely unknown.
This study was designed to analyze the biodiversity and community of the bacteria associated with ten liverworts and ten mosses using Illumina-sequencing techniques based on bacterial 16S rRNA gene. A total of 125,762 high quality sequences and 437 OTUs were obtained from twenty bryophytes. Generally, there were no obvious differences between the richness of bacteria associated with liverworts and mosses; however, the diversity was significantly higher in liverworts than in mosses. The taxonomic analyses showed that there were abundant bacteria inhabited with each bryophyte and those primarily detected in all samples were within the phyla Proteobacteria, Actinobacteria, Acidobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Armatimonadetes and Planctomycetes. In addition, bacteria assigned to Chloroflexi, Fibrobacteres, Gemmatimonadetes, Chlamydiae, group of TM6 and WCHB1-60 also appeared in part of the bryophytes. The assigned bacteria included those adapted to aquatic, anaerobic and even extreme drought environments, which is consistent with the bryophyte transition from aquatic to terrestrial conditions. Of them, approximately 10 recognized genera were shared by all the samples in a higher proportion, such as Burkholderia, Novosphingobium, Mucilaginibacter, Sorangium, Frankia, Frondihatitans, Haliangium, Rhizobacter, Granulicella and Hafnia, and 11 unclassified genera were also detected in all samples, which exhibited that large amounts of unclassified bacteria could interact with the bryophytes. The Heatmap and Principle Coordinate Analyses showed that bacteria associated with six mosses displayed a higher community similarity. Notably, the bacteria associated with another four mosses exhibited higher similarity with the ten liverworts.
The result of further analysis of the bacterial community in different bryophytes revealed that the phylogeny of hosts might portray a strong influence on the associated bacterial community and that niche also played important roles when the hosts were phylogenetically more similar. Further studies are needed to confirm the role of phylogeny on bacterial communities and determine the level of influence on predicting which bacteria is associated with the host.