© 2017 The Author(s). Metagenomic sequencing provides a window into microbial community structure and metabolic potential; however, linking these data to exogenous metabolites that microorganisms process and produce (the exometabolome) remains challenging. Previously, we observed strong exometabolite niche partitioning among bacterial isolates from biological soil crust (biocrust). Here we examine native biocrust to determine if these patterns are reproduced in the environment. Overall, most soil metabolites display the expected relationship (positive or negative correlation) with four dominant bacteria following a wetting event and across biocrust developmental stages. For metabolites that were previously found to be consumed by an isolate, 70% are negatively correlated with the abundance of the isolate's closest matching environmental relative in situ, whereas for released metabolites, 67% were positively correlated. Our results demonstrate that metabolite profiling, shotgun sequencing and exometabolomics may be successfully integrated to functionally link microbial community structure with environmental chemistry in biocrust.