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1.
Glob Chang Biol ; 30(2): e17175, 2024 Feb.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-38337156

RESUMEN

The increasing concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is perturbing the global carbon (C) cycle, altering stocks of organic C, including soil organic matter (SOM). The effect of this disturbance on soils in arid ecosystems may differ from other ecosystems due to water limitation. In this study, we conducted a density fractionation on soils previously harvested from the Nevada Desert FACE Facility (NDFF) to understand how elevated atmospheric CO2 (eCO2 ) affects SOM stability. Soils from beneath the perennial shrub, Larrea tridentata, and from unvegetated interspace were subjected to a sodium polytungstate density fractionation to separate light, particulate organic matter (POM, <1.85 g/cm3 ) from heavier, mineral associated organic matter (MAOM, >1.85 g/cm3 ). These fractions were analyzed for organic C, total N, δ13 C and δ15 N, to understand the mechanisms behind changes. The heavy fraction was further analyzed by pyrolysis GC/MS to assess changes in organic compound composition. Elevated CO2 decreased POM-C and MAOM-C in soils beneath L. tridentata while interspace soils exhibited only a small increase in MAOM-N. Analysis of δ13 C revealed incorporation of new C into both POM and MAOM pools indicating eCO2 stimulated rapid turnover of both POM and MAOM. The largest losses of POM-C and MAOM-C observed under eCO2 occurred in soils 20-40 cm in depth, highlighting that belowground C inputs may be a significant driver of SOM decomposition in this ecosystem. Pyrolysis GC/MS analysis revealed a decrease in organic compound diversity in the MAOM fraction of L. tridentata soils, becoming more similar to interspace soils under eCO2 . These results provide further evidence that MAOM stability may be compromised under disturbance and that SOC stocks in arid ecosystems are vulnerable under continued climate change.


Asunto(s)
Carbono , Ecosistema , Carbono/metabolismo , Dióxido de Carbono/metabolismo , Suelo , Minerales , Compuestos Orgánicos/metabolismo
2.
New Phytol ; 239(1): 311-324, 2023 07.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36978279

RESUMEN

Fungi are crucial for soil organic carbon (SOC) formation, especially for the more persistent mineral-associated organic C (MAOC) pool. Yet, evidence for this often overlooks arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) communities and how their composition and traits impact SOC accumulation. We grew sudangrass with AMF communities representing different traits conserved at the family level: competitors, from the Gigasporaceae family; ruderals, from the Glomeraceae family; or both families combined. We labeled sudangrass with 13 C-CO2 to assess AMF contributions to SOC, impacts on SOC priming, and fungal biomass persistence in MAOC. Single-family AMF communities decreased total SOC by 13.8%, likely due to fungal priming. Despite net SOC losses, all AMF communities contributed fungal C to soil but only the Glomeraceae community initially contributed to MAOC. After a month of decomposition, both the Glomeraceae and mixed-family communities contributed to MAOC formation. Plant phosphorus uptake, but not hyphal chemistry, was positively related to AMF soil C and MAOC accumulation. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi contribution to MAOC is dependent on the specific traits of the AMF community and related to phosphorus uptake. These findings provide insight into how variations in AMF community composition and traits, and thus processes like environmental filtering of AMF, may impact SOC accumulation.


Asunto(s)
Glomeromycota , Micobioma , Micorrizas , Sorghum , Suelo/química , Carbono , Fósforo , Microbiología del Suelo , Raíces de Plantas/microbiología
3.
Ecol Appl ; 33(2): e2784, 2023 03.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36478617

RESUMEN

Managing soils to retain new plant inputs is key to moving toward a sustainable and regenerative agriculture. Management practices, like diversifying and perennializing agroecosystems, may affect the decomposer organisms that regulate how new residue is converted to persistent soil organic matter. Here we tested whether 12 years of diversifying/perennializing plants in agroecosystems through extended rotations or grassland restoration would decrease losses of new plant residue inputs and, thus, increase retention of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) in soil. We tracked dual-labeled (13 C and 15 N), isotopically enriched wheat (Triticum aestivum) residue in situ for 2 years as it decomposed in three agroecosystems: maize-soybean (CS) rotation, maize-soybean-wheat plus red clover and cereal rye cover crops (CSW2), and spring fallow management with regeneration of natural grassland species (seven to 10 species; SF). We measured losses of wheat residue (Cwheat and Nwheat ) in leached soil solution and greenhouse gas fluxes, as well as how much was recovered in microbial biomass and bulk soil at 5-cm increments down to 20 cm. CSW2 and SF both had unique, significant effects on residue decomposition and retention dynamics that were clear only when using nuanced metrics that able to tease apart subtle differences. For example, SF retained a greater portion of Cwheat in 0-5 cm surface soils (155%, p = 0.035) and narrowed the Cwheat to Nwheat ratio (p < 0.030) compared to CS. CSW2 increased an index of carbon-retention efficiency, Cwheat retained in the mesocosm divided by total measured, from 0.18 to 0.27 (49%, p = 0.001), compared to CS. Overall, we found that diversifying and extending the duration of living plants in agroecosystems can lead to greater retention of new residue inputs in subtle ways that require further investigation to fully understand.


Asunto(s)
Agricultura , Suelo , Suelo/química , Carbono , Productos Agrícolas , Grano Comestible , Nitrógeno/análisis , Triticum
4.
Glob Chang Biol ; 28(24): 7167-7185, 2022 12.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-36043234

RESUMEN

Predicting and mitigating changes in soil carbon (C) stocks under global change requires a coherent understanding of the factors regulating soil organic matter (SOM) formation and persistence, including knowledge of the direct sources of SOM (plants vs. microbes). In recent years, conceptual models of SOM formation have emphasized the primacy of microbial-derived organic matter inputs, proposing that microbial physiological traits (e.g., growth efficiency) are dominant controls on SOM quantity. However, recent quantitative studies have challenged this view, suggesting that plants make larger direct contributions to SOM than is currently recognized by this paradigm. In this review, we attempt to reconcile these perspectives by highlighting that variation across estimates of plant- versus microbial-derived SOM may arise in part from methodological limitations. We show that all major methods used to estimate plant versus microbial contributions to SOM have substantial shortcomings, highlighting the uncertainty in our current quantitative estimates. We demonstrate that there is significant overlap in the chemical signatures of compounds produced by microbes, plant roots, and through the extracellular decomposition of plant litter, which introduces uncertainty into the use of common biomarkers for parsing plant- and microbial-derived SOM, especially in the mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM) fraction. Although the studies that we review have contributed to a deeper understanding of microbial contributions to SOM, limitations with current methods constrain quantitative estimates. In light of recent advances, we suggest that now is a critical time to re-evaluate long-standing methods, clearly define their limitations, and develop a strategic plan for improving the quantification of plant- and microbial-derived SOM. From our synthesis, we outline key questions and challenges for future research on the mechanisms of SOM formation and stabilization from plant and microbial pathways.


Asunto(s)
Carbono , Suelo , Suelo/química , Carbono/metabolismo , Microbiología del Suelo , Plantas/metabolismo , Minerales/química
5.
Sci Total Environ ; 809: 152195, 2022 Feb 25.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34890668

RESUMEN

Pastures and rangelands are a dominant portion of global agricultural land and have the potential to sequester carbon (C) in soils, mitigating climate change. Management intensive grazing (MIG), or high density grazing with rotations through paddocks with long rest periods, has been highlighted as a method of enhancing soil C in pastures by increasing forage production. However, few studies have examined the soil C storage potential of pastures under MIG in the northeastern United States, where the dairy industry comprises a large portion of agricultural use and the regional agricultural economy. Here we present a 12-year study conducted in this region using a combination of field data and the denitrification and decomposition (DNDCv9.5) model to analyze changes in soil C and nitrogen (N) over time, and the climate impacts as they relate to soil carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) fluxes. Field measurements showed: (1) increases in soil C in grazed fields under MIG (P = 0.03) with no significant increase in hayed fields (P = 0.55); and (2) that the change in soil C was negatively correlated to initial soil C content (P = 0.006). Modeled simulations also showed fields that started with relatively less soil C had significant gains in C over the course of the study, with no significant change in fields with higher initial levels of soil C. Sensitivity analyses showed the physiochemical status of soils (i.e., soil C and clay content) had greater influence over C storage than the intensity of grazing. More extensive grazing methods showed very little change in soil C storage or CO2 and N2O fluxes with modeled continuous grazing trending towards declines in soil C. Our study highlights the importance of considering both initial system conditions as well as management when analyzing the potential for long-term soil C storage.


Asunto(s)
Secuestro de Carbono , Suelo , Agricultura , Granjas , Óxido Nitroso/análisis , Estaciones del Año
6.
Glob Chang Biol ; 28(2): 665-684, 2022 01.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34543495

RESUMEN

Terrestrial ecosystems regulate Earth's climate through water, energy, and biogeochemical transformations. Despite a key role in regulating the Earth system, terrestrial ecology has historically been underrepresented in the Earth system models (ESMs) that are used to understand and project global environmental change. Ecology and Earth system modeling must be integrated for scientists to fully comprehend the role of ecological systems in driving and responding to global change. Ecological insights can improve ESM realism and reduce process uncertainty, while ESMs offer ecologists an opportunity to broadly test ecological theory and increase the impact of their work by scaling concepts through time and space. Despite this mutualism, meaningfully integrating the two remains a persistent challenge, in part because of logistical obstacles in translating processes into mathematical formulas and identifying ways to integrate new theories and code into large, complex model structures. To help overcome this interdisciplinary challenge, we present a framework consisting of a series of interconnected stages for integrating a new ecological process or insight into an ESM. First, we highlight the multiple ways that ecological observations and modeling iteratively strengthen one another, dispelling the illusion that the ecologist's role ends with initial provision of data. Second, we show that many valuable insights, products, and theoretical developments are produced through sustained interdisciplinary collaborations between empiricists and modelers, regardless of eventual inclusion of a process in an ESM. Finally, we provide concrete actions and resources to facilitate learning and collaboration at every stage of data-model integration. This framework will create synergies that will transform our understanding of ecology within the Earth system, ultimately improving our understanding of global environmental change, and broadening the impact of ecological research.


Asunto(s)
Planeta Tierra , Ecosistema , Ecología , Incertidumbre , Agua
7.
Biogeochemistry ; 154(2): 211-229, 2021.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34759436

RESUMEN

Soil organic nitrogen (N) is a critical resource for plants and microbes, but the processes that govern its cycle are not well-described. To promote a holistic understanding of soil N dynamics, we need an integrated model that links soil organic matter (SOM) cycling to bioavailable N in both unmanaged and managed landscapes, including agroecosystems. We present a framework that unifies recent conceptual advances in our understanding of three critical steps in bioavailable N cycling: organic N (ON) depolymerization and solubilization; bioavailable N sorption and desorption on mineral surfaces; and microbial ON turnover including assimilation, mineralization, and the recycling of microbial products. Consideration of the balance between these processes provides insight into the sources, sinks, and flux rates of bioavailable N. By accounting for interactions among the biological, physical, and chemical controls over ON and its availability to plants and microbes, our conceptual model unifies complex mechanisms of ON transformation in a concrete conceptual framework that is amenable to experimental testing and translates into ideas for new management practices. This framework will allow researchers and practitioners to use common measurements of particulate organic matter (POM) and mineral-associated organic matter (MAOM) to design strategic organic N-cycle interventions that optimize ecosystem productivity and minimize environmental N loss. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10533-021-00793-9.

8.
Front Microbiol ; 11: 596589, 2020.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33281795

RESUMEN

The Northern high latitudes are warming twice as fast as the global average, and permafrost has become vulnerable to thaw. Changes to the environment during thaw leads to shifts in microbial communities and their associated functions, such as greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding the ecological processes that structure the identity and abundance (i.e., assembly) of pre- and post-thaw communities may improve predictions of the functional outcomes of permafrost thaw. We characterized microbial community assembly during permafrost thaw using in situ observations and a laboratory incubation of soils from the Storflaket Mire in Abisko, Sweden, where permafrost thaw has occurred over the past decade. In situ observations indicated that bacterial community assembly was driven by randomness (i.e., stochastic processes) immediately after thaw with drift and dispersal limitation being the dominant processes. As post-thaw succession progressed, environmentally driven (i.e., deterministic) processes became increasingly important in structuring microbial communities where homogenizing selection was the only process structuring upper active layer soils. Furthermore, laboratory-induced thaw reflected assembly dynamics immediately after thaw indicated by an increase in drift, but did not capture the long-term effects of permafrost thaw on microbial community dynamics. Our results did not reflect a link between assembly dynamics and carbon emissions, likely because respiration is the product of many processes in microbial communities. Identification of dominant microbial community assembly processes has the potential to improve our understanding of the ecological impact of permafrost thaw and the permafrost-climate feedback.

9.
Glob Chang Biol ; 25(12): 4369-4382, 2019 Dec.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31314956

RESUMEN

Fine root litter is a primary source of soil organic matter (SOM), which is a globally important pool of C that is responsive to climate change. We previously established that ~20 years of experimental nitrogen (N) deposition has slowed fine root decay and increased the storage of soil carbon (C; +18%) across a widespread northern hardwood forest ecosystem. However, the microbial mechanisms that have directly slowed fine root decay are unknown. Here, we show that experimental N deposition has decreased the relative abundance of Agaricales fungi (-31%) and increased that of partially ligninolytic Actinobacteria (+24%) on decaying fine roots. Moreover, experimental N deposition has increased the relative abundance of lignin-derived compounds residing in SOM (+53%), and this biochemical response is significantly related to shifts in both fungal and bacterial community composition. Specifically, the accumulation of lignin-derived compounds in SOM is negatively related to the relative abundance of ligninolytic Mycena and Kuehneromyces fungi, and positively related to Microbacteriaceae. Our findings suggest that by altering the composition of microbial communities on decaying fine roots such that their capacity for lignin degradation is reduced, experimental N deposition has slowed fine root litter decay, and increased the contribution of lignin-derived compounds from fine roots to SOM. The microbial responses we observed may explain widespread findings that anthropogenic N deposition increases soil C storage in terrestrial ecosystems. More broadly, our findings directly link composition to function in soil microbial communities, and implicate compositional shifts in mediating biogeochemical processes of global significance.


Asunto(s)
Microbiota , Suelo , Carbono , Ecosistema , Bosques , Nitrógeno , Microbiología del Suelo
10.
Front Microbiol ; 10: 1146, 2019.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31178846

RESUMEN

Agricultural systems are increasingly managed for improving soil carbon (C) accumulation. However, there are limits to C returns in agricultural systems that constrain soil C accumulation capacity. Increasing the efficiency of how soil microbes process C is gaining interest as an important management strategy for increasing soil C and is a key feature of soil C dynamics in many new microbial-explicit models. A higher microbial C use efficiency (CUE) may increase C storage while reducing C system losses and is a fundamental trait affecting community assembly dynamics and nutrient cycling. However, the numerous ecological unknowns influencing CUE limit our ability to effectively manage CUE in agricultural soils for greater soil C storage. In this perspective, we consider three complex drivers of agroecosystem CUE that need to be resolved to develop effective C sequestration management practices in the future: (1) the environment as an individual trait moderator versus a filter, (2) microbial community competitive and faciliatory interactions, and (3) spatiotemporal dynamics through the soil profile and across the microbial lifecycle. We highlight ways that amendments, crop rotations, and tillage practices might affect microbial CUE conditions and the variable outcomes of these practices. We argue that to resolve some of the unknowns of CUE dynamics, we need to include more mechanistic, trait-based approaches that capitalize on advanced methods and innovative field research designs within an agroecosystem-specific context. By identifying the management-level determinants of CUE expression, we will be better positioned to optimize CUE to increase soil C storage in agricultural systems.

11.
Global Biogeochem Cycles ; 33(10): 1289-1309, 2019 Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31894175

RESUMEN

Land models are often used to simulate terrestrial responses to future environmental changes, but these models are not commonly evaluated with data from experimental manipulations. Results from experimental manipulations can identify and evaluate model assumptions that are consistent with appropriate ecosystem responses to future environmental change. We conducted simulations using three coupled carbon-nitrogen versions of the Community Land Model (CLM, versions 4, 4.5, and-the newly developed-5), and compared the simulated response to nitrogen (N) and atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment with meta-analyses of observations from similar experimental manipulations. In control simulations, successive versions of CLM showed a poleward increase in gross primary productivity and an overall bias reduction, compared to FLUXNET-MTE observations. Simulations with N and CO2 enrichment demonstrate that CLM transitioned from a model that exhibited strong nitrogen limitation of the terrestrial carbon cycle (CLM4) to a model that showed greater responsiveness to elevated concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere (CLM5). Overall, CLM5 simulations showed better agreement with observed ecosystem responses to experimental N and CO2 enrichment than previous versions of the model. These simulations also exposed shortcomings in structural assumptions and parameterizations. Specifically, no version of CLM captures changes in plant physiology, allocation, and nutrient uptake that are likely important aspects of terrestrial ecosystems' responses to environmental change. These highlight priority areas that should be addressed in future model developments. Moving forward, incorporating results from experimental manipulations into model benchmarking tools that are used to evaluate model performance will help increase confidence in terrestrial carbon cycle projections.

12.
Nat Commun ; 9(1): 3929, 2018 09 24.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-30250196

RESUMEN

In the originally published version of this Article, financial support was not fully acknowledged. The PDF and HTML versions of the Article have now been corrected to include support from the NSF Long-term Ecological Research Program (DEB 1637653) at the Kellogg Biological Station and from Michigan State University AgBioResearch.

13.
Glob Chang Biol ; 24(3): 895-905, 2018 03.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28991399

RESUMEN

The complexity of processes and interactions that drive soil C dynamics necessitate the use of proxy variables to represent soil characteristics that cannot be directly measured (correlative proxies), or that aggregate information about multiple soil characteristics into one variable (integrative proxies). These proxies have proven useful for understanding the soil C cycle, which is highly variable in both space and time, and are now being used to make predictions of the fate and persistence of C under future climate scenarios. However, the C pools and processes that proxies represent must be thoughtfully considered in order to minimize uncertainties in empirical understanding. This is necessary to capture the full value of a proxy in model parameters and in model outcomes. Here, we provide specific examples of proxy variables that could improve decision-making, and modeling skill, while also encouraging continued work on their mechanistic underpinnings. We explore the use of three common soil proxies used to study soil C cycling: metabolic quotient, clay content, and physical fractionation. We also consider how emerging data types, such as genome-sequence data, can serve as proxies for microbial community activities. By examining some broad assumptions in soil C cycling with the proxies already in use, we can develop new hypotheses and specify criteria for new and needed proxies.


Asunto(s)
Ciclo del Carbono , Carbono/química , Cambio Climático , Suelo/química , Carbono/metabolismo , Modelos Teóricos , Microbiología del Suelo
14.
Nat Commun ; 7: 13630, 2016 11 28.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-27892466

RESUMEN

Soil organic matter (SOM) and the carbon and nutrients therein drive fundamental submicron- to global-scale biogeochemical processes and influence carbon-climate feedbacks. Consensus is emerging that microbial materials are an important constituent of stable SOM, and new conceptual and quantitative SOM models are rapidly incorporating this view. However, direct evidence demonstrating that microbial residues account for the chemistry, stability and abundance of SOM is still lacking. Further, emerging models emphasize the stabilization of microbial-derived SOM by abiotic mechanisms, while the effects of microbial physiology on microbial residue production remain unclear. Here we provide the first direct evidence that soil microbes produce chemically diverse, stable SOM. We show that SOM accumulation is driven by distinct microbial communities more so than clay mineralogy, where microbial-derived SOM accumulation is greatest in soils with higher fungal abundances and more efficient microbial biomass production.


Asunto(s)
Bacterias/metabolismo , Ecosistema , Compuestos Orgánicos/metabolismo , Microbiología del Suelo , Silicatos de Aluminio , Arcilla , Modelos Teóricos , Suelo/química
15.
Front Plant Sci ; 7: 65, 2016.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26904043

RESUMEN

There is increasing global demand for food, bioenergy feedstocks and a wide variety of bio-based products. In response, agriculture has advanced production, but is increasingly depleting soil regulating and supporting ecosystem services. New production systems have emerged, such as no-tillage, that can enhance soil services but may limit yields. Moving forward, agricultural systems must reduce trade-offs between production and soil services. Soil functional zone management (SFZM) is a novel strategy for developing sustainable production systems that attempts to integrate the benefits of conventional, intensive agriculture, and no-tillage. SFZM creates distinct functional zones within crop row and inter-row spaces. By incorporating decimeter-scale spatial and temporal heterogeneity, SFZM attempts to foster greater soil biodiversity and integrate complementary soil processes at the sub-field level. Such integration maximizes soil services by creating zones of 'active turnover', optimized for crop growth and yield (provisioning services); and adjacent zones of 'soil building', that promote soil structure development, carbon storage, and moisture regulation (regulating and supporting services). These zones allow SFZM to secure existing agricultural productivity while avoiding or minimizing trade-offs with soil ecosystem services. Moreover, the specific properties of SFZM may enable sustainable increases in provisioning services via temporal intensification (expanding the portion of the year during which harvestable crops are grown). We present a conceptual model of 'virtuous cycles', illustrating how increases in crop yields within SFZM systems could create self-reinforcing feedback processes with desirable effects, including mitigation of trade-offs between yield maximization and soil ecosystem services. Through the creation of functionally distinct but interacting zones, SFZM may provide a vehicle for optimizing the delivery of multiple goods and services in agricultural systems, allowing sustainable temporal intensification while protecting and enhancing soil functioning.

16.
PLoS One ; 8(10): e75771, 2013.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24124511

RESUMEN

There is growing evidence that terrestrial ecosystems are exporting more dissolved organic carbon (DOC) to aquatic ecosystems than they did just a few decades ago. This "browning" phenomenon will alter the chemistry, physics, and biology of inland water bodies in complex and difficult-to-predict ways. Experiments provide an opportunity to elucidate how browning will affect the stability and functioning of aquatic ecosystems. However, it is challenging to obtain sources of DOC that can be used for manipulations at ecologically relevant scales. In this study, we evaluated a commercially available source of humic substances ("Super Hume") as an analog for natural sources of terrestrial DOC. Based on chemical characterizations, comparative surveys, and whole-ecosystem manipulations, we found that the physical and chemical properties of Super Hume are similar to those of natural DOC in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. For example, Super Hume attenuated solar radiation in ways that will not only influence the physiology of aquatic taxa but also the metabolism of entire ecosystems. Based on its chemical properties (high lignin content, high quinone content, and low C:N and C:P ratios), Super Hume is a fairly recalcitrant, low-quality resource for aquatic consumers. Nevertheless, we demonstrate that Super Hume can subsidize aquatic food webs through 1) the uptake of dissolved organic constituents by microorganisms, and 2) the consumption of particulate fractions by larger organisms (i.e., Daphnia). After discussing some of the caveats of Super Hume, we conclude that commercial sources of humic substances can be used to help address pressing ecological questions concerning the increased export of terrestrial DOC to aquatic ecosystems.


Asunto(s)
Ecosistema , Carbono/análisis , Sustancias Húmicas/análisis
17.
Front Microbiol ; 4: 260, 2013.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24027563

RESUMEN

Fluctuations in climate and edaphic factors influence field decomposition rates and preclude a complete understanding of how microbial communities respond to plant litter quality. In contrast, laboratory microcosms isolate the intrinsic effects of litter chemistry and microbial community from extrinsic effects of environmental variation. Used together, these paired approaches provide mechanistic insights to decomposition processes. In order to elucidate the microbial mechanisms underlying how environmental conditions alter the trajectory of decay, we characterized microbial biomass, respiration, enzyme activities, and nutrient dynamics during early (<10% mass loss), mid- (10-40% mass loss), and late (>40% mass loss) decay in parallel field and laboratory litter bag incubations for deciduous tree litters with varying recalcitrance (dogwood < maple < maple-oak mixture < oak). In the field, mass loss was minimal (<10%) over the first 50 days (January-February), even for labile litter types, despite above-freezing soil temperatures and adequate moisture during these winter months. In contrast, microcosms displayed high C mineralization rates in the first week. During mid-decay, the labile dogwood and maple litters in the field had higher mass loss per unit enzyme activity than the lab, possibly due to leaching of soluble compounds. Microbial biomass to litter mass (B:C) ratios peaked in the field during late decay, but B:C ratios declined between mid- and late decay in the lab. Thus, microbial biomass did not have a consistent relationship with litter quality between studies. Higher oxidative enzyme activities in oak litters in the field, and higher nitrogen (N) accumulation in the lab microcosms occurred in late decay. We speculate that elevated N suppressed fungal activity and/or biomass in microcosms. Our results suggest that differences in microbial biomass and enzyme dynamics alter the decay trajectory of the same leaf litter under field and lab conditions.

18.
Ecol Lett ; 15(10): 1180-8, 2012 Oct.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22897741

RESUMEN

The chemical complexity of decomposing plant litter is a central feature shaping the terrestrial carbon (C) cycle, but explanations of the origin of this complexity remain contentious. Here, we ask: How does litter chemistry change during decomposition, and what roles do decomposers play in these changes? During a long-term (730 days) litter decomposition experiment, we tracked concurrent changes in decomposer community structure and function and litter chemistry using high-resolution molecular techniques. Contrary to the current paradigm, we found that the chemistry of different litter types diverged, rather than converged, during decomposition due to the activities of decomposers. Furthermore, the same litter type exposed to different decomposer communities exhibited striking differences in chemistry, even after > 90% mass loss. Our results show that during decomposition, decomposer community characteristics regulate changes in litter chemistry, which could influence the functionality of litter-derived soil organic matter (SOM) and the turnover and stabilisation of soil C.


Asunto(s)
Ciclo del Carbono , Hojas de la Planta/química , Hojas de la Planta/metabolismo , Microbiología del Suelo , Biomasa , Compuestos Orgánicos/metabolismo , Dinámica Poblacional
19.
Ecol Lett ; 15(9): 1042-9, 2012 Sep.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-22776588

RESUMEN

A common finding in multiple CO(2) enrichment experiments in forests is the lack of soil carbon (C) accumulation owing to microbial priming of 'old' soil organic matter (SOM). However, soil C losses may also result from the accelerated turnover of 'young' microbial tissues that are rich in nitrogen (N) relative to bulk SOM. We measured root-induced changes in soil C dynamics in a pine forest exposed to elevated CO(2) and N enrichment by combining stable isotope analyses, molecular characterisations of SOM and microbial assays. We find strong evidence that the accelerated turnover of root-derived C under elevated CO(2) is sufficient in magnitude to offset increased belowground inputs. In addition, the C losses were associated with accelerated N cycling, suggesting that trees exposed to elevated CO(2) not only enhance N availability by stimulating microbial decomposition of SOM via priming but also increase the rate at which N cycles through microbial pools.


Asunto(s)
Ciclo del Carbono , Dióxido de Carbono , Nitrógeno/metabolismo , Microbiología del Suelo , Árboles , Hongos , Pinus , Raíces de Plantas/metabolismo , Raíces de Plantas/microbiología
20.
Glob Chang Biol ; 18(9): 2969-79, 2012 Sep.
Artículo en Inglés | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-24501071

RESUMEN

Global changes such as variations in plant net primary production are likely to drive shifts in leaf litterfall inputs to forest soils, but the effects of such changes on soil carbon (C) cycling and storage remain largely unknown, especially in C-rich tropical forest ecosystems. We initiated a leaf litterfall manipulation experiment in a tropical rain forest in Costa Rica to test the sensitivity of surface soil C pools and fluxes to different litter inputs. After only 2 years of treatment, doubling litterfall inputs increased surface soil C concentrations by 31%, removing litter from the forest floor drove a 26% reduction over the same time period, and these changes in soil C concentrations were associated with variations in dissolved organic matter fluxes, fine root biomass, microbial biomass, soil moisture, and nutrient fluxes. However, the litter manipulations had only small effects on soil organic C (SOC) chemistry, suggesting that changes in C cycling, nutrient cycling, and microbial processes in response to litter manipulation reflect shifts in the quantity rather than quality of SOC. The manipulation also affected soil CO 2 fluxes; the relative decline in CO 2 production was greater in the litter removal plots (-22%) than the increase in the litter addition plots (+15%). Our analysis showed that variations in CO 2 fluxes were strongly correlated with microbial biomass pools, soil C and nitrogen (N) pools, soil inorganic P fluxes, dissolved organic C fluxes, and fine root biomass. Together, our data suggest that shifts in leaf litter inputs in response to localized human disturbances and global environmental change could have rapid and important consequences for belowground C storage and fluxes in tropical rain forests, and highlight differences between tropical and temperate ecosystems, where belowground C cycling responses to changes in litterfall are generally slower and more subtle.

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