Ecological assembly processes, by influencing community composition, determine ecosystem functions of microbiomes. However, debate remains on how stochastic versus deterministic assembly processes influence ecosystem functions such as carbon and nutrient cycling. Towards a better understanding, we investigated three types of agroecosystems (the upland, paddy, and flooded) that represent a gradient of stochastic versus deterministic assembly processes. Carbon and nutrient cycling multifunctionality, characterized by nine enzymes associated with soil carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous and sulfur cycling, was evaluated and then associated with microbial assembly processes and co-occurrence patterns of vital ecological groups. Our results suggest that strong deterministic processes favour microorganisms with convergent functions (as in the upland agroecosystem), while stochasticity-dominated processes lead to divergent functions (as in the flooded agroecosystem). To benefit agroecosystems services, we speculate that it is critical for a system to maintain balance between its stochastic and deterministic assembly processes (as in the paddy agroecosystem). By doing so, the system can preserve a diverse array of functional traits and also allow for particular traits to flourish. To further confirm this speculation, it is necessary to develop a systematic knowledge beyond merely characterizing general patterns towards the associations among community assembly, composition, and ecosystem functions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics