EVALUATION OF BACTERIAL AND EUKARYOTIC DIVERSITY IN WILD BLUEBERRIES (VACCINIUM ANGUSTIFOLIUM AIT. AND VACCINIUM MYTILLOIDES MICHX.)
Plant and microbes have evolved interdependently enabling them to coexist and use symbiotic relations and interactions to survive abiotic and biotic stressors. In this study, the variations in bacterial and eukaryotic communities associated with wild lowbush blueberries within the soil system were examined. The changes in transition from unmanaged forest (multiple plant species) to managed field (single plant species) were found to influence bacteria and eukaryotic communities across sample types with root systems being the least influenced by the change in management. Proteobacteria and Acidobacteria were found to be the most abundant bacterial phyla with Proteobacteria increasing in relative abundance in root systems compared to rhizosphere and bulk soils and Acidobacteria showing the opposite trend. Ascomycota was the most abundant eukaryote order with consistent relative abundance across sampling locations except for being decreased in field rhizosphere. Further research is required to determine the exact structure and the stability of the microbiome of the root system within wild blueberries.