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Trophic structure and major trophic links in conventional versus organic farming systems as indicated by carbon stable isotope ratios of fatty acids

Haubert, Dominique; Birkhofer, Klaus; Fliessbach, Andreas; Gehre, Matthias; Scheu, Stefan and Ruess, Liliane (2009) Trophic structure and major trophic links in conventional versus organic farming systems as indicated by carbon stable isotope ratios of fatty acids. Oikos, 118 (10), pp. 1579-1589.

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Online at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1600-0706.2009.17587.x/abstract

Summary

Using bulk tissue and fatty acid 13 C analysis we investigated major trophic pathways from soil microorganisms to microbial consumers to predators in conventional versus organic farming systems planted for the first time with maize. Organic farming led to an increase in microbial biomass in particular that of fungi as indicated by phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs). Microbial PLFAs reflected the conversion from C3 to C4 plants by a shift in δ13C of 2‰, whereas the isotopic signal in fatty acids (FAs) of Collembola was much more pronounced. In the euedaphic Protaphorura fimata the δ13C values in maize fields exceeded that in C3 (soybean) fields by up to 10‰, indicating a close relationship between diet and vegetation cover. In the epedaphic Orchesella villosa δ13C values shifted by 4‰, suggesting a wider food spectrum including carbon of former C3 crop residues. Differences in δ13C of corresponding FAs in consumers and resources were assessed to assign food web links. P. fimata was suggested as root and fungal feeder in soybean fields, fungal feeder in conventional and leaf consumer in organically managed maize fields. O. villosa likely fed on root and bacteria under soybean, and bacteria and fungi under maize. Comparison of δ13C values in FAs of the cursorial spider Pardosa agrestis and O. villosa implied the latter as important prey species in soybean fields. In contrast, the web-building spider Mangora acalypha showed no predator―prey relationship with Collembola. The determination of δ13C values in trophic biomarker FAs allowed detailed insight into the structure of the decomposer food web and identified diet-shifts in both consumers at the base of the food web and in top predators in organic versus conventional agricultural systems. The results indicate changes in major trophic links and therefore carbon flux through the food web by conversion of conventional into organic farming systems.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Lycosidae, Arachnida, Dicotyledones, Leguminosae, Spermatophyta, Angiospermae, Monocotyledones, Gramineae, Invertebrata, Arthropoda, Insecta, Collembola, Entomobryidae, Decomposition, Interspecific relation, Lipids, C4 plant, C3 plant, Pardosa, Araneida, Glycine max, Fungi, Zea mays, Phospholipid, Trophic chain, Photosynthesis, C4-Type, C3-Type, Conversion, Microbial biomass, Predator, Microorganism, Soils, Fatty acids, Ratio, Isotopes, Farming system, Organic agriculture, Conventional agriculture, Trophic relation, Trophic structure, Bodenwissenschaften, Bodenfruchtbarkeit, Effizienz von Anbausystemen
Subjects: Soil > Soil quality > Soil biology
Crop husbandry > Production systems > Cereals, pulses and oilseeds
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil Sciences
Germany > Other organizations
ISSN:0030 1299
DOI:doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2009.17587.x
Related Links:http://www.fibl.org/en/switzerland/research/soil-sciences.html
Deposited By: Fliessbach, Dr. Andreas
ID Code:18191
Deposited On:16 Feb 2011 12:01
Last Modified:16 Feb 2011 12:01
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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