Variations of Soil Microbial Community Structures Beneath Broadleaved Forest Trees in Temperate and Subtropical Climate Zones.
ABSTRACT: Global warming has shifted climate zones poleward or upward. However, understanding the responses and mechanism of microbial community structure and functions relevant to natural climate zone succession is challenged by the high complexity of microbial communities. Here, we examined soil microbial community in three broadleaved forests located in the Wulu Mountain (WLM, temperate climate), Funiu Mountain (FNM, at the border of temperate and subtropical climate zones), or Shennongjia Mountain (SNJ, subtropical climate). Although plant species richness decreased with latitudes, the microbial taxonomic ?-diversity increased with latitudes, concomitant with increases in soil total and available nitrogen and phosphorus contents. Phylogenetic NRI (Net Relatedness Index) values increased from -0.718 in temperate zone (WLM) to 1.042 in subtropical zone (SNJ), showing a shift from over dispersion to clustering likely caused by environmental filtering such as low pH and nutrients. Similarly, taxonomy-based association networks of subtropical forest samples were larger and tighter, suggesting clustering. In contrast, functional ?-diversity was similar among three forests, but functional gene networks of the FNM forest significantly (P < 0.050) differed from the others. A significant correlation (R = 0.616, P < 0.001) between taxonomic and functional ?-diversity was observed only in the FNM forest, suggesting low functional redundancy at the border of climate zones. Using a strategy of space-for-time substitution, we predict that poleward climate range shift will lead to decreased microbial taxonomic ?-diversities in broadleaved forest.
Project description:Global warming has shifted climate zones poleward or upward. However, understanding the responses and mechanism of microbial community structure and functions relevant to natural climate zone succession is challenged by the high complexity of microbial communities. Here, we examined soil microbial community in three broadleaved forests located in the Wulu Mountain (WLM, temperate climate), Funiu Mountain (FNM, at the border of temperate and subtropical climate zones), or Shennongjia Mountain (SNJ, subtropical climate).Soils were characterized for geochemistry, Illumina sequencing was used to determine microbial taxonomic communities and GeoChips 5.0 were used to determine microbial functional genes. Overall design: Thirty samples were collected from three mountains in temperate and subtropical zones, with 10 replicates in every site
Project description:Soil bacteria may be influenced by vegetation and play important roles in global carbon efflux and nutrient cycling under global changes. Coniferous and broadleaved forests are two phyletically distinct vegetation types. Soil microbial communities in these forests have been extensively investigated but few studies have presented comparable data regarding the characteristics of bacterial communities in subtropical forests. We investigated soil bacterial biomass and community composition in three pairs of coniferous and broadleaved forests across a subtropical climatic gradient. We found that bacterial biomass differed between the coniferous and broadleaved forests across the subtropical climate gradient; however, this difference disappeared at some individual sites. In contrast, the same 90 bacterial genera were found in both forest types, and their relative abundances didn't differ between the forest types, with the exception of one genus that was more abundant in broadleaved forests. Soil nitrogen or moisture was associated with bacterial groups in the coniferous and broadleaved forests, respectively. Thus, we inferred that these forests can respond differently to future changes in nitrogen deposition or precipitation. This study highlights soil bacterial invariant community composition in contrasting subtropical forests and provides a new perspective on the potential response and feedback of forests to global changes.
Project description:The dramatic climate fluctuations of the late Quaternary have influenced the diversity and composition of macroorganism communities, but how they structure belowground microbial communities is less well known. Fungi constitute an important component of soil microorganism communities. They play an important role in biodiversity maintenance, community assembly, and ecosystem functioning, and differ from many macroorganisms in many traits. Here, we examined soil fungal communities in Chinese temperate, subtropical, and tropic forests using Illumina MiSeq sequencing of the fungal ITS1 region. The relative effect of late Quaternary climate change and contemporary environment (plant, soil, current climate, and geographic distance) on the soil fungal community was analyzed. The richness of the total fungal community, along with saprotrophic, ectomycorrhizal (EM), and pathogenic fungal communities, was influenced primarily by the contemporary environment (plant and/or soil) but not by late Quaternary climate change. Late Quaternary climate change acted in concert with the contemporary environment to shape total, saprotrophic, EM, and pathogenic fungal community compositions and with a stronger effect in temperate forest than in tropic-subtropical forest ecosystems. Some contemporary environmental factors influencing total, saprotrophic, EM, and pathogenic fungal communities in temperate and tropic-subtropical forests were different. We demonstrate that late Quaternary climate change can help to explain current soil fungal community composition and argue that climatic legacies can help to predict soil fungal responses to climate change.
Project description:We aimed to obtain high resolution vegetation data and climate information about the LGM in the inland of the northern SCS based on key pollen types. Dominant Quercus fossil pollen grains in the core from the continental shelf of the northern SCS have been identified at the infrageneric level by using scanning electron microscopy. Based on tectum ornamentation, we recognized five sculpture types of Quercus pollen, namely, rodlike, rodlike masked, rodlike vertical, verrucate and micro-verrucate. Such a high diversity of Quercus fossil pollen types indicated that broadleaved forests were widely distributed in the inland along the northern SCS and included species of the subgenera Cyclobalanopsis and Quercus, of which subgenus Cyclobalanopsis populations were highly dominant. Low abundance of deciduous Quercus pollen probably derived from temperate-subtropical forests, while abundant evergreen pollen types of subgenura Quercus and Cyclobalanopsis, as well as other pollen of broadleaved taxa in the pollen assemblages, strongly suggest that the inland has been covered by dense subtropical forests. Consequently, the warm and humid subtropical climate prevailed during the LGM in the inland along the northern SCS. Our results shed new light on regional climatic conditions during the LGM in eastern Asia based on high diversity of Quercus fossil pollen in marine deposits from northern SCS.
Project description:Mountain forests are at particular risk of climate change impacts due to their temperature limitation and high exposure to warming. At the same time, their complex topography may help to buffer the effects of climate change and create climate refugia. Whether climate change can lead to critical transitions of mountain forest ecosystems and whether such transitions are reversible remain incompletely understood. We investigated the resilience of forest composition and size structure to climate change, focusing on a mountain forest landscape in the Eastern Alps. Using the individual-based forest landscape model iLand, we simulated ecosystem responses to a wide range of climatic changes (up to a 6°C increase in mean annual temperature and a 30% reduction in mean annual precipitation), testing for tipping points in vegetation size structure and composition under different topography scenarios. We found that at warming levels above +2°C a threshold was crossed, with the system tipping into an alternative state. The system shifted from a conifer-dominated landscape characterized by large trees to a landscape dominated by smaller, predominantly broadleaved trees. Topographic complexity moderated climate change impacts, smoothing and delaying the transitions between alternative vegetation states. We subsequently reversed the simulated climate forcing to assess the ability of the landscape to recover from climate change impacts. The forest landscape showed hysteresis, particularly in scenarios with lower precipitation. At the same mean annual temperature, equilibrium vegetation size structure and species composition differed between warming and cooling trajectories. Here we show that even moderate warming corresponding to current policy targets could result in critical transitions of forest ecosystems and highlight the importance of topographic complexity as a buffering agent. Furthermore, our results show that overshooting ambitious climate mitigation targets could be dangerous, as ecological impacts can be irreversible at millennial time scales once a tipping point has been crossed.
Project description:Reforestation with different tree species could alter soil properties and in turn affect the bacterial community. However, the effects of long-term reforestation on bacterial community structure and diversity of subtropical forest soils are poorly understood. In the current study, we applied error-corrected barcoded pyrosequencing to characterize the differences in the soil bacterial community in a low mountain, subtropical forest subjected to reforestation. The communities were sampled in the summer and winter from a native broadleaved forest (BROAD-Nat) and two adjacent coniferous plantations, a Calocedrus formosana forest of 80 years (CONIF-80) and a Cunninghamia konishii forest of 40 years (CONIF-40). The soil bacterial communities among three forest types were dominated by Acidobacteria and Alphaproteobacteria. The distribution of abundant genera among communities was different. Based on the Shannon diversity index, the bacterial alpha diversity of CONIF-40 community was significantly higher than that in the CONIF-80 and BROAD-Nat soils. In both of the coniferous plantations, the soil bacterial diversity in summer was also higher than that in winter. Distribution of some abundant phylogenetic groups, K-shuff and redundancy analysis of beta diversity among communities showed that the bacterial structure of three soil communities differed between two seasons. These results suggest that seasonal differences influence the diversity and structure of bacterial soil communities and that the communities remain different even after a long period of reforestation.
Project description:Increasing fire risk and atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition have the potential to alter plant community structure and composition, with consequent impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. This study was conducted to examine short-term responses of understory plant community to burning and N addition in a coniferous-broadleaved mixed forest of the subtropical-temperate transition zone in Central China. The experiment used a pair-nested design, with four treatments (control, burning, N addition, and burning plus N addition) and five replicates. Species richness, cover, and density of woody and herbaceous plants were monitored for 3 years after a low-severity fire in the spring of 2014. Burning, but not N addition, significantly stimulated the cover (+15.2%, absolute change) and density (+62.8%) of woody species as well as herb richness (+1.2 species/m2, absolute change), cover (+25.5%, absolute change), and density (+602.4%) across the seven sampling dates from June 2014 to October 2016. Light availability, soil temperature, and prefire community composition could be primarily responsible for the understory community recovery after the low-severity fire. The observations suggest that light availability and soil temperature are more important than nutrients in structuring understory plant community in the mixed forest of the subtropical-temperate transition zone in Central China. Legacy woody and herb species dominated the understory vegetation over the 3 years after fire, indicating strong resistance and resilience of forest understory plant community and biodiversity to abrupt environmental perturbation.
Project description:To explore the importance of soil microbial community composition on explaining the difference in heterotrophic soil respiration (R(h)) across forests, a field investigation was conducted on Rh and soil physiochemical and microbial properties in four subtropical forests in southern China. We observed that Rh differed significantly among forests, being 2.48 ± 0.23, 2.31 ± 0.21, 1.83 ± 0.08 and 1.56 ± 0.15 μmol m(-2) s(-1) in the climax evergreen broadleaf forest (BF), the mixed conifer and broadleaf forest (CF), the conifer plantation (CP), and the native broadleaved species plantation (BP), respectively. Both linear mixed effect model and variance decomposition analysis indicated that soil microbial community composition derived from phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) was not the first-order explanatory variable for the R(h) variance across the forests, with the explanatory power being 15.7%. Contrastingly, vegetational attributes such as root biomass (22.6%) and soil substrate availability (18.6%) were more important for explaining the observed R(h) variance. Our results therefore suggest that vegetation attributes and soil carbon pool size, rather than soil microbial community composition, should be preferentially considered to understand the spatial R(h) variance across the subtropical forests in southern China.
Project description:The transition from tropical to subtropical (warm temperate) evergreen forests is more clearly apparent in East Asia, from Nepal to the western Pacific coast, than elsewhere in the tropics. We review the nature of this transition and hypothesize the physical, ultimately climatic, factors that may maintain it, with a special focus on how the increasing instability and warming of climates will affect these forests. A primary climatic mediator of the transition is proposed, thereby offering a testable hypothesis for the climate-forest transition relationship. What is known of this transition is summarized in context of the primary climatic mediators of elevational zonation of forest formations in equatorial Asia to the tree line, in the Himalaya at the India-Indo-Burma northern tropical margin, and as both elevational and latitudinal zonation in southern China. Consequent secondary edaphic and other physical changes are described for the Himalaya, and hypothesized for southern China. The forest ecotones are seen to be primarily defined by tree floristic change, on which account changes in structure and physiognomy are determined. The montane tropical-subtropical transition in the Himalaya is narrow and observed to correlate with an as yet ill-defined frost line. A distinct tropical-subtropical transition forest is recognized in the southwest China mountains. There is a total change in canopy species at the Himalayan ecotone, but subcanopy tropical species persist along an elevational decline of c. 400 m. The latitudinal transition in South China is analogous, but here the tropical subcanopy component extends north over ten degrees latitude, albeit in decline. The tropical-subtropical transition is uniquely clear in East Asia because here alone a tropical wet summer-dry winter monsoon extends to 35° north latitude, encompassing the subtropical evergreen forest, whereas subtropical evergreen forests elsewhere exist under drier temperate summer climate regimes.
Project description:Currently, the temperate forest biome cools the earth's climate and dampens anthropogenic climate change. However, climate change will substantially alter forest dynamics in the future, affecting the climate regulation function of forests. Increasing natural disturbances can reduce carbon uptake and evaporative cooling, but at the same time increase the albedo of a landscape. Simultaneous changes in vegetation composition can mitigate disturbance impacts, but also influence climate regulation directly (e.g., via albedo changes). As a result of a number of interactive drivers (changes in climate, vegetation, and disturbance) and their simultaneous effects on climate-relevant processes (carbon exchange, albedo, latent heat flux) the future climate regulation function of forests remains highly uncertain. Here we address these complex interactions to assess the effect of future forest dynamics on the climate system. Our specific objectives were (1) to investigate the long-term interactions between changing vegetation composition and disturbance regimes under climate change, (2) to quantify the response of climate regulation to changes in forest dynamics, and (3) to identify the main drivers of the future influence of forests on the climate system. We investigated these issues using the individual-based forest landscape and disturbance model (iLand). Simulations were run over 200 yr for Kalkalpen National Park (Austria), assuming different future climate projections, and incorporating dynamically responding wind and bark beetle disturbances. To consistently assess the net effect on climate the simulated responses of carbon exchange, albedo, and latent heat flux were expressed as contributions to radiative forcing. We found that climate change increased disturbances (+27.7% over 200 yr) and specifically bark beetle activity during the 21st century. However, negative feedbacks from a simultaneously changing tree species composition (+28.0% broadleaved species) decreased disturbance activity in the long run (-10.1%), mainly by reducing the host trees available for bark beetles. Climate change and the resulting future forest dynamics significantly reduced the climate regulation function of the landscape, increasing radiative forcing by up to +10.2% on average over 200 yr. Overall, radiative forcing was most strongly driven by carbon exchange. We conclude that future changes in forest dynamics can cause amplifying climate feedbacks from temperate forest ecosystems.