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Direct and indirect effects of tree diversity drive soil microbial diversity in temperate deciduous forest


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Thoms, Carolin; Gattinger, Andreas; Jacob, Mascha; Thomas, Frank M. and Gleixner, Gerd (2010) Direct and indirect effects of tree diversity drive soil microbial diversity in temperate deciduous forest. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 42 (9), pp. 1558-1565.

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Online at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0038071710002038


We investigated the link between aboveground and belowground diversity in temperate deciduous forest ecosystems. To this end, we determined the effects of the tree species composition on the biomass and composition of the soil microbial community using phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiles in the Hainich National Park, a deciduous mixed forest on loess over limestone in Central-Germany. We investigated the effects of the leaf litter composition on the microbial community, hypothesizing that distinctive leaf litter compositions increase signature PLFAs. In addition, we studied the impact of clay content, pH and nutrient status of the soil on the microbial community in different surface soil layers. Consequently, soil was sampled from depths of 0–5 cm, 5–10 cm and 10–20 cm. Plots with highest leaf litter diversity had the largest total amounts of fatty acids, but only PLFA 16:1ω5, which is a common marker for arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, was significantly increased. In the uppermost soil layer, the pH explained most of the variance in microbial composition. In the deeper surface soil layers, nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus determined the microbial abundances and composition. Our results suggest that the soil microbial community is mainly indirectly influenced by aboveground diversity. Changes in soil pH or the soil nutrient status that are driven by specific plant traits like leave litter quality drive these indirect changes. Specific direct interactions are most reasonable for mycorrhizal fungi.

EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Microorganisms, Biodiversity, PLFA, Leaf litter, Soil resources, Beech forest, Hainich National Park, Bodenwissenschaften, Bodenqualität, Buchenwald
Agrovoc keywords:
EnglishLeaf litterUNSPECIFIED
EnglishSoil resourceshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_7187
EnglishBeech forestUNSPECIFIED
EnglishHainich National ParkUNSPECIFIED
Subjects: Soil
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Soil Sciences
Germany > University of Munich - TUM
Germany > University of Trier
Germany > Other organizations
Deposited By: Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau, FiBL
ID Code:26368
Deposited On:17 Jun 2014 20:44
Last Modified:17 Jun 2014 20:44
Document Language:English
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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