Differences in soil biological activity by terrain types at the sub-field scale in central Iowa US.
ABSTRACT: Soil microbial communities are structured by biogeochemical processes that occur at many different spatial scales, which makes soil sampling difficult. Because soil microbial communities are important in nutrient cycling and soil fertility, it is important to understand how microbial communities function within the heterogeneous soil landscape. In this study, a self-organizing map was used to determine whether landscape data can be used to characterize the distribution of microbial biomass and activity in order to provide an improved understanding of soil microbial community function. Points within a row crop field in south-central Iowa were clustered via a self-organizing map using six landscape properties into three separate landscape clusters. Twelve sampling locations per cluster were chosen for a total of 36 locations. After the soil samples were collected, the samples were then analysed for various metabolic indicators, such as nitrogen and carbon mineralization, extractable organic carbon, microbial biomass, etc. It was found that sampling locations located in the potholes and toe slope positions had significantly greater microbial biomass nitrogen and carbon, total carbon, total nitrogen and extractable organic carbon than the other two landscape position clusters, while locations located on the upslope did not differ significantly from the other landscape clusters. However, factors such as nitrate, ammonia, and nitrogen and carbon mineralization did not differ significantly across the landscape. Overall, this research demonstrates the effectiveness of a terrain-based clustering method for guiding soil sampling of microbial communities.
Project description:Soil microbial communities mediate the decomposition of soil organic matter (SOM). The amount of carbon (C) that is respired leaves the soil as CO(2) (soil respiration) and causes one of the greatest fluxes in the global carbon cycle. How soil microbial communities will respond to global warming, however, is not well understood. To elucidate the effect of warming on the microbial community we analyzed soil from the soil warming experiment Achenkirch, Austria. Soil of a mature spruce forest was warmed by 4 °C during snow-free seasons since 2004. Repeated soil sampling from control and warmed plots took place from 2008 until 2010. We monitored microbial biomass C and nitrogen (N). Microbial community composition was assessed by phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA) and by quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) of ribosomal RNA genes. Microbial metabolic activity was estimated by soil respiration to biomass ratios and RNA to DNA ratios. Soil warming did not affect microbial biomass, nor did warming affect the abundances of most microbial groups. Warming significantly enhanced microbial metabolic activity in terms of soil respiration per amount of microbial biomass C. Microbial stress biomarkers were elevated in warmed plots. In summary, the 4 °C increase in soil temperature during the snow-free season had no influence on microbial community composition and biomass but strongly increased microbial metabolic activity and hence reduced carbon use efficiency.
Project description:Grasslands have a long history of invasion by exotic annuals, which may alter microbial communities and nutrient cycling through changes in litter quality and biomass turnover rates. We compared plant community composition, soil chemical and microbial community composition, potential soil respiration and nitrogen (N) turnover rates between invaded and restored plots in inland and coastal grasslands. Restoration increased microbial biomass and fungal : bacterial (F : B) ratios, but sampling season had a greater influence on the F : B ratio than did restoration. Microbial community composition assessed by phospholipid fatty acid was altered by restoration, but also varied by season and by site. Total soil carbon (C) and N and potential soil respiration did not differ between treatments, but N mineralization decreased while extractable nitrate and nitrification and N immobilization rate increased in restored compared with unrestored sites. The differences in soil chemistry and microbial community composition between unrestored and restored sites indicate that these soils are responsive, and therefore not resistant to feedbacks caused by changes in vegetation type. The resilience, or recovery, of these soils is difficult to assess in the absence of uninvaded control grasslands. However, the rapid changes in microbial and N cycling characteristics following removal of invasives in both grassland sites suggest that the soils are resilient to invasion. The lack of change in total C and N pools may provide a buffer that promotes resilience of labile pools and microbial community structure.
Project description:Background:Soil microbial communities and their associated enzyme activities play key roles in carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Soil microbial communities are sensitive to resource availability, but the mechanisms of microbial regulation have not been thoroughly investigated. Here, we tested the mechanistic relationships between microbial responses and multiple interacting resources. Methods:We examined soil carbon properties, soil microbial community structure and carbon-related functions under nitrogen addition and plant inputs removal (litter removal (NL), root trench and litter removal (NRL)) in a pure Larix principis-rupprechtii plantation in northern China. Results:We found that nitrogen addition affected the soil microbial community structure, and that microbial biomass increased significantly once 100 kg ha-1 a-1 of nitrogen was added. The interactions between nitrogen addition and plant inputs removal significantly affected soil bacteria and their enzymatic activities (oxidases). The NL treatment enhanced soil microbial biomass under nitrogen addition. We also found that the biomass of gram-negative bacteria and saprotrophic fungi directly affected the soil microbial functions related to carbon turnover. The biomass of gram-negative bacteria and peroxidase activity were key factors controlling soil carbon dynamics. The interactions between nitrogen addition and plant inputs removal strengthened the correlation between the hydrolases and soil carbon. Conclusions:This study showed that nitrogen addition and plant inputs removal could alter soil enzyme activities and further affect soil carbon turnover via microbial regulation. The increase in soil microbial biomass and the microbial regulation of soil carbon both need to be considered when developing effective sustainable forest management practices for northern China. Moreover, further studies are also needed to exactly understand how the complex interaction between the plant and below-ground processes affects the soil microbial community structure.
Project description:Droughts strongly affect carbon and nitrogen cycling in grasslands, with consequences for ecosystem productivity. Therefore, we investigated how experimental grassland communities interact with groups of soil microorganisms. In particular, we explored the mechanisms of the drought-induced decoupling of plant photosynthesis and microbial carbon cycling and its recovery after rewetting. Our aim was to better understand how root exudation during drought is linked to pulses of soil microbial activity and changes in plant nitrogen uptake after rewetting. We set up a mesocosm experiment on a meadow site and used shelters to simulate drought. We performed two 13C-CO2 pulse labelings, the first at peak drought and the second in the recovery phase, and traced the flow of assimilates into the carbohydrates of plants and the water extractable organic carbon and microorganisms from the soil. Total microbial tracer uptake in the main metabolism was estimated by chloroform fumigation extraction, whereas the lipid biomarkers were used to assess differences between the microbial groups. Drought led to a reduction of aboveground versus belowground plant growth and to an increase of 13C tracer contents in the carbohydrates, particularly in the roots. Newly assimilated 13C tracer unexpectedly accumulated in the water-extractable soil organic carbon, indicating that root exudation continued during the drought. In contrast, drought strongly reduced the amount of 13C tracer assimilated into the soil microorganisms. This reduction was more severe in the growth-related lipid biomarkers than in the metabolic compounds, suggesting a slowdown of microbial processes at peak drought. Shortly after rewetting, the tracer accumulation in the belowground plant carbohydrates and in the water-extractable soil organic carbon disappeared. Interestingly, this disappearance was paralleled by a quick recovery of the carbon uptake into metabolic and growth-related compounds from the rhizospheric microorganisms, which was probably related to the higher nitrogen supply to the plant shoots. We conclude that the decoupling of plant photosynthesis and soil microbial carbon cycling during drought is due to reduced carbon uptake and metabolic turnover of rhizospheric soil microorganisms. Moreover, our study suggests that the maintenance of root exudation during drought is connected to a fast reinitiation of soil microbial activity after rewetting, supporting plant recovery through increased nitrogen availability.
Project description:Clipping (i.e., harvesting aboveground plant biomass) is common in agriculture and for bioenergy production. However, microbial responses to clipping in the context of climate warming are poorly understood. We investigated the interactive effects of grassland warming and clipping on soil properties, plant and microbial communities, in particular microbial functional genes. Clipping alone did not change the plant biomass production, but warming and clipping combined increased the C4 peak biomass by 47% and belowground net primary production by 110%. Clipping alone and in combination with warming decreased the soil carbon input from litter by 81% and 75%, respectively. With less carbon input, the abundances of genes involved in degrading relatively recalcitrant carbon increased by 38-137% in response to either clipping or the combined treatment, which could weaken the long-term soil carbon stability and trigger a positive feedback to warming. Clipping alone also increased the abundance of genes for nitrogen fixation, mineralization and denitrification by 32-39%. The potentially stimulated nitrogen fixation could help compensate for the 20% decline in soil ammonium caused by clipping alone, and contribute to unchanged plant biomass. Moreover, clipping tended to interact antagonistically with warming, especially on nitrogen cycling genes, demonstrating that single factor studies cannot predict multifactorial changes. These results revealed that clipping alone or in combination with warming altered soil and plant properties, as well as the abundance and structure of soil microbial functional genes. The aboveground biomass removal for biofuel production needs to be re-considered as the long-term soil carbon stability may be weakened. Overall design: 24 subsuface (0-15cm) soil samples from an Oklahoma tall grassland experimental warming site were analyzed. These samples consist of four different treatment levels (UU: no clipping-no warming; UW: no clipping-warming; CU: clipping-no warming; CW: clipping-warming) from six biological replicated blocks.
Project description:Soil microorganisms play a pivotal role in carbon mineralization and their diversity is crucial to the function of soil ecosystems. However, the effects of long-term fertilization on microbial-mediated carbon mineralization are poorly understood. To identify the relative roles of microbes in carbon mineralization of yellow paddies, we investigated the long-term fertilization effects on soil properties and microbial communities and their relationships with carbon mineralization. The treatments included: no fertilization (CK), chemical fertilizer (NPK), organic fertilizer (M), and constant organic-inorganic fertilizer (MNPK). NPK treatment significantly increased soil water content (WC), while M and MNPK treatments significantly increased the content of soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC), soil microbial biomass nitrogen (SMBN), and WC. Strong increases in CO2 emissions, potential mineralized carbon, and turnover rate constant were observed in both organic-fertilizer treatments (M and MNPK), relative to the CK treatment. These changes in soil properties can be attributed to the variation in microbial communities. NPK treatment had no significant effect. Different fertilization treatments changed soil microbial community; SOC and SMBN were the most important contributors to the variance in microbial community composition. The variations in community composition did not significant influence carbon mineralization; however, carbon mineralization was significantly influenced by the abundance of several non-dominant bacteria. The results suggest that SOC, SMBN, and non-dominant bacteria (Gemmatimonadetes and Latescibacteria), have a close relationship to carbon mineralization, and should be preferentially considered in predicting carbon mineralization under long-term fertilization.
Project description:We studied microbial communities in two paddy soils, which did not receive nitrogen fertilization and were distinguished by the soil properties. The two microbial communities differed in the relative abundance of gram-negative bacteria and total microbial biomass. Variability in microbial communities between the two fields was related to the levels of phosphorus and soil moisture. Redundancy analysis for individual soils showed that the bacterial community dynamics in the high-yield soil were significantly correlated with total carbon, moisture, available potassium, and pH, and those in the low-yield cores were shaped by pH, and nitrogen factors. Biolog Eco-plate data showed a more active microbial community in the high yield soil. The variations of enzymatic activities in the two soils were significantly explained by total nitrogen, total potassium, and moisture. The enzymatic variability in the low-yield soil was significantly explained by potassium, available nitrogen, pH, and total carbon, and that in the high-yield soil was partially explained by potassium and moisture. We found the relative abundances of Gram-negative bacteria and Actinomycetes partially explained the spatial and temporal variations of soil enzymatic activities, respectively. The high-yield soil microbes are probably more active to modulate soil fertility for rice production.
Project description:Higher plant diversity is often associated with higher soil microbial biomass and diversity, which is assumed to be partly due to elevated root exudate diversity. However, there is little experimental evidence that diversity of root exudates shapes soil microbial communities. We tested whether higher root exudate diversity enhances soil microbial biomass and diversity in a plant diversity gradient, thereby negating significant plant diversity effects on soil microbial properties. We set up plant monocultures and two- and three-species mixtures in microcosms using functionally dissimilar plants and soil of a grassland biodiversity experiment in Germany. Artificial exudate cocktails were added by combining the most common sugars, organic acids, and amino acids found in root exudates. We applied four different exudate cocktails: two exudate diversity levels (low- and high-diversity) and two nutrient-enriched levels (carbon- and nitrogen-enriched), and a control with water only. Soil microorganisms were more carbon- than nitrogen-limited. Cultivation-independent fingerprinting analysis revealed significantly different soil microbial communities among exudate diversity treatments. Most notably and according to our hypothesis, adding diverse exudate cocktails negated the significant plant diversity effect on soil microbial properties. Our findings provide the first experimental evidence that root exudate diversity is a crucial link between plant diversity and soil microorganisms.
Project description:Information on how soil microbial communities respond to warming is still scarce for alpine scrub ecosystems. We conducted a field experiment with two plant treatments (plant removal or undisturbed) subjected to warmed or unwarmed conditions to examine the effects of warming and plant removal on soil microbial community structures during the growing season in a Sibiraea angustata scrubland of the eastern Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. The results indicate that experimental warming significantly influenced soil microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and microbial biomass nitrogen (MBN), but the warming effects were dependent on the plant treatments and sampling seasons. In the plant-removal plots, warming did not affect most of the microbial variables, while in the undisturbed plots, warming significantly increased the abundances of actinomycete and Gram-positive bacterial groups during the mid-growing season (July), but it did not affect the fungi groups. Plant removal significantly reduced fungal abundance throughout the growing season and significantly altered the soil microbial community structure in July. The interaction between warming and plant removal significantly influenced the soil MBC and MBN and the abundances of total microbes, bacteria and actinomycete throughout the growing season. Experimental warming significantly reduced the abundance of rare taxa, while the interaction between warming and plant removal tended to have strong effects on the abundant taxa. These findings suggest that the responses of soil microbial communities to warming are regulated by plant communities. These results provide new insights into how soil microbial community structure responds to climatic warming in alpine scrub ecosystems.
Project description:In this study, the effect of mineral fertilizer and organic manure were evaluated on soil microbial biomass, dehydrogenase activity, bacterial and fungal community structure in a long-term (33 years) field experiment. Except for the mineral nitrogen fertilizer (N) treatment, long-term fertilization greatly increased soil microbial biomass carbon (SMBC) and dehydrogenase activity. Organic manure had a significantly greater impact on SMBC and dehydrogenase activity, compared with mineral fertilizers. Bacterial and fungal community structure was analyzed by polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). Long-term fertilization increased bacterial and fungal ribotype diversity. Total soil nitrogen (TN) and phosphorus (TP), soil organic carbon (SOC) and available phosphorus (AP) had a similar level of influence on bacterial ribotypes while TN, SOC and AP had a larger influence than alkali-hydrolyzable nitrogen (AHN) on fungal ribotypes. Our results suggested that long-term P-deficiency fertilization can significantly decrease soil microbial biomass, dehydrogenase activity and bacterial diversity. N-fertilizer and SOC have an important influence on bacterial and fungal communities.