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Soil property and management effects on grassland microbial communities across a latitudinal gradient in Germany

  • There is much interest in the identification of the main drivers controlling changes in the microbial community that may be related to sustainable land use. We examined the influence of soil properties and land-use intensity (N fertilization, mowing, grazing) on total phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) biomass, microbial community composition (PLFA profiles) and activities of enzymes involved in the C, N, and P cycle. These relationships were examined in the topsoil of grasslands from three German regions (Schorfheide-Chorin (SCH), Hainich-Dun (HAI), Schwabische Alb (ALB)) with different parent material. Differences in soil properties explained 60% of variation in PLFA data and 81% of variation in enzyme activities across regions and land-use intensities. Degraded peat soils in the lowland areas of the SCH with high organic carbon (OC) concentrations and sand content contained lower PLFA biomass, lower concentrations of bacterial, fungal, and arbuscular mycorrhizal PLFAs, but greater enzyme activities, and specific enzyme activities (perThere is much interest in the identification of the main drivers controlling changes in the microbial community that may be related to sustainable land use. We examined the influence of soil properties and land-use intensity (N fertilization, mowing, grazing) on total phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) biomass, microbial community composition (PLFA profiles) and activities of enzymes involved in the C, N, and P cycle. These relationships were examined in the topsoil of grasslands from three German regions (Schorfheide-Chorin (SCH), Hainich-Dun (HAI), Schwabische Alb (ALB)) with different parent material. Differences in soil properties explained 60% of variation in PLFA data and 81% of variation in enzyme activities across regions and land-use intensities. Degraded peat soils in the lowland areas of the SCH with high organic carbon (OC) concentrations and sand content contained lower PLFA biomass, lower concentrations of bacterial, fungal, and arbuscular mycorrhizal PLFAs, but greater enzyme activities, and specific enzyme activities (per unit microbial biomass) than mineral soils in the upland areas of the HAI and ALB, which are finer textured, drier, and have smaller OC concentrations. After extraction of variation that originated from large-scale differences among regions and differences in land-use intensities between plots, soil properties still explained a significant amount of variation in PLFA data (34%) and enzyme activities (60%). Total PLFA biomass and all enzyme activities were mainly related to OC concentration, while relative abundance of fungi and fungal to bacterial ratio were mainly related to soil moisture. Land-use intensity (LUI) significantly decreased the soil C:N ratio. There was no direct effect of LUI on total PLFA biomass, microbial community composition, N and P cycling enzyme activities independent of study region and soil properties. In contrast, the activities and specific activities of enzymes involved in the C cycle increased significantly with LUI independent of study region and soil properties, which can have impact on soil organic matter decomposition and nutrient cycling. Our findings demonstrate that microbial biomass and community composition as well as enzyme activities are more controlled by soil properties than by grassland management at the regional scale.show moreshow less

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Author:Nadine Herold, Ingo Schöning, Jessica Gutknecht, Fabian Alt, Steffen Boch, Jörg Müller, Yvonne Oelmann, Stephanie A. Socher, Wolfgang Wilcke, Tesfaye Wubet, Marion Schrumpf
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2013.07.009
ISSN:0929-1393 (print)
ISSN:1873-0272 (online)
Parent Title (English):Applied soil ecology : a section of agriculture, ecosystems & environment
Publisher:Elsevier
Place of publication:Amsterdam
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2014
Year of Completion:2014
Release Date:2017/03/27
Tag:Degraded peat soils; Land-use intensity; Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA); Specific enzyme activities; Temperate grasslands
Volume:73
Pagenumber:10
First Page:41
Last Page:50
Funder:DFG [SCHR 1181/1]
Organizational units:Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft
Peer Review:Referiert