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Shifts in plant community structure in shrub and grass-dominated ecosystems are occurring over large land areas in the western US. It is not clear what effect this vegetative change will have on rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling, and thus long-term ecosystem productivity. To study the effect of different plant species on the decomposability of soil organic substrates and rates of C- and N-cycling, we conducted laboratory incubations of soils from a 15-yr-old experimental plot where big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) and crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum [Fisch.] Schult.) plants had been planted in a grid pattern. Soil samples collected from beneath crested wheatgrass had significantly greater total...
Soil microbial organisms are central to carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) transformations in soils, yet not much is known about the stable isotope composition of these essential regulators of element cycles. We investigated the relationship between C and N availability and stable C and N isotope composition of soil microbial biomass across a three million year old semiarid substrate age gradient in northern Arizona. The δ15N of soil microbial biomass was on average 7.2‰ higher than that of soil total N for all substrate ages and 1.6‰ higher than that of extractable N, but not significantly different for the youngest and oldest sites. Microbial 15N enrichment relative to soil extractable and total N was low at the...
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These data were compiled to improve our understanding of how water, carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) interact to regulate below ground carbon cycling. Objective(s) of our study were to evaluate how soil heterotrophic carbon cycling responded to inputs of water, C, N, and P individually and interactively on the Colorado Plateau. These data represent soil microbial and CO2 respiration responses to amendments of carbon, nitrogen, phosphorous, and water. Soils were collected at a study site located in Arches National Park in southeastern Utah on 14 August 2017 and again on 17 July 2018 from the upper 10 cm of the soil profile in open spaces among plant canopies after the biological soil crust layer (< 1...
We investigated the effect of plant residue decomposability and fungal biomass on the dynamics of macroaggregate (250?2000 ?m) formation in a three months' incubation experiment and determined the distribution of residue-derived C and N in the microbial biomass and in aggregate size fractions (250?2000 ?m, 53?250 ?m and <53 ?m) using 13C and 15N data. A silty loam soil (sieved <250 ?m) was incubated with and without addition of 15N labelled maize leaves (C/N = 27.4) and roots (C/N = 86.4). Each treatment was carried out with and without fungicide application. The addition of maize residues enhanced soil respiration and microbial biomass C and N and resulted in increased macroaggregate formation with a higher and...
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Changes in nutrient inputs due to aboveground herbivory may influence the litter and soil microbial community responsible for processes such as decomposition. The mesophyll-feeding scale insect (Matsucoccus acalyptus) found near Sunset Crater National Monument in northern Arizona, USA significantly increases pi�on (Pinus edulis) needle litter nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) concentrations by 50%, as well as litter inputs to soil by 21%. Because increases in needle litter quality and quantity of this magnitude should affect the microbial communities responsible for decomposition, we tested the hypothesis that insect herbivory causes a shift in soil microbial and litter microarthropod function. Four major findings...
Although freeze–thaw cycles can alter soil physical properties and microbial activity, their overall impact on soil functioning remains unclear. This review addresses the effects of freeze–thaw cycles on soil physical properties, microorganisms, carbon and nutrient dynamics, trace gas losses and higher organisms associated with soil. I discuss how the controlled manipulation of freeze–thaw cycles has varied widely among studies and propose that, despite their value in demonstrating the mechanisms of freeze–thaw action in soils, many studies of soil freeze–thaw cycles have used cycle amplitudes, freezing rates and minimum temperatures that are not relevant to temperature changes across much of the soil...
Although freeze?thaw cycles can alter soil physical properties and microbial activity, their overall impact on soil functioning remains unclear. This review addresses the effects of freeze?thaw cycles on soil physical properties, microorganisms, carbon and nutrient dynamics, trace gas losses and higher organisms associated with soil. I discuss how the controlled manipulation of freeze?thaw cycles has varied widely among studies and propose that, despite their value in demonstrating the mechanisms of freeze?thaw action in soils, many studies of soil freeze?thaw cycles have used cycle amplitudes, freezing rates and minimum temperatures that are not relevant to temperature changes across much of the soil profile in...
In water-limited ecosystems, small rainfall events can have dramatic impacts on microbial activity and soil nutrient pools. Plant community phenology and life span also affect soil resources by determining the timing and quantity of plant nutrient uptake, storage, and release. Using the replacement of C3–C4 perennial grasses by the invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum as a case study, we investigated the influence of phenology and life span on pulse responses and sizes of soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools. We hypothesized that available and microbial C and N would respond to small rainfall events and that B. tectorum invasion would increase soil C and N pools by reducing inter-annual plant C and N storage...
The growing awareness that plants might use a variety of nitrogen (N) forms, both organic and inorganic, has raised questions about the role of resource partitioning in plant communities. It has been proposed that coexisting plant species might be able to partition a limited N pool, thereby avoiding competition for resources, through the uptake of different chemical forms of N. In this study, we used in situ stable isotope labeling techniques to assess whether coexisting plant species of a temperate grassland (England, UK) display preferences for different chemical forms of N, including inorganic N and a range of amino acids of varying complexity. We also tested whether plants and soil microbes differ in their preference...
Previous studies have shown that forest floors from stands dominated by trembling aspen (ASPEN; Populus tremuloides Michx.) tend to support a greater microbial biomass with a different microbial community structure than forest floors from stands dominated by white spruce (SPRUCE; Picea glauca (Moench) Voss). A reciprocal transfer experiment, in concert with coarse and fine mesh bags that allowed or excluded fine root in-growth, was used to examine how the composition of these forest floor microbial communities respond to changes in belowground inputs from fine roots, aboveground inputs (e.g. from litter and through-fall) and soil microclimatic conditions over 1 year. Neither the microbial biomass nor the microbial...
We used dual labelled stable isotope (13C and 15N) techniques to examine how grassland plant species with different growth strategies vary in their ability to compete with soil microbes for different chemical forms of nitrogen (N), both inorganic and organic. We also tested whether some plant species might avoid competition by preferentially using different chemical forms of N than microbes. This was tested in a pot experiment where monocultures of five co-existing grassland species, namely the grasses Agrostis capillaris, Anthoxanthum odoratum, Nardus stricta, Deschampsia flexuosa and the herb Rumex acetosella, were grown in field soil from an acid semi-natural temperate grassland. Our data show that grassland...
Laboratory incubations of15N-amended soils from a sagebrush steppe in south-central Wyoming indicate that nutrient turnover and availability have complex patterns across the landscape and between microsites. Total and available N and P and microbial C and N were highest in topographic depressions characterized by tall shrub communities. Net and gross N mineralization rates and respiration were also highest in these areas, but microbial efficiencies expressing growth relative to respiration cost were highest in soils of exposed ridgetop sites (prostrate shrub communities). Similar patterns occurred between shrub and intershrub soils, with greater nutrient availability under shrubs, but lower microbial efficiencies...
Shifts in plant community structure in shrub and grass-dominated ecosystems are occurring over large land areas in the western US. It is not clear what effect this vegetative change will have on rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling, and thus long-term ecosystem productivity. To study the effect of different plant species on the decomposability of soil organic substrates and rates of C- and N-cycling, we conducted laboratory incubations of soils from a 15-yr-old experimental plot where big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata Nutt.) and crested wheatgrass (Agropyron desertorum [Fisch.] Schult.) plants had been planted in a grid pattern. Soil samples collected from beneath crested wheatgrass had significantly greater total...
The growing awareness that plants might use a variety of nitrogen (N) forms, both organic and inorganic, has raised questions about the role of resource partitioning in plant communities. It has been proposed that coexisting plant species might be able to partition a limited N pool, thereby avoiding competition for resources, through the uptake of different chemical forms of N. In this study, we used in situ stable isotope labeling techniques to assess whether coexisting plant species of a temperate grassland (England, UK) display preferences for different chemical forms of N, including inorganic N and a range of amino acids of varying complexity. We also tested whether plants and soil microbes differ in their preference...
In water-limited ecosystems, small rainfall events can have dramatic impacts on microbial activity and soil nutrient pools. Plant community phenology and life span also affect soil resources by determining the timing and quantity of plant nutrient uptake, storage, and release. Using the replacement of C3?C4 perennial grasses by the invasive annual grass Bromus tectorum as a case study, we investigated the influence of phenology and life span on pulse responses and sizes of soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) pools. We hypothesized that available and microbial C and N would respond to small rainfall events and that B. tectorum invasion would increase soil C and N pools by reducing inter-annual plant C and N storage...
Although freeze?thaw cycles can alter soil physical properties and microbial activity, their overall impact on soil functioning remains unclear. This review addresses the effects of freeze?thaw cycles on soil physical properties, microorganisms, carbon and nutrient dynamics, trace gas losses and higher organisms associated with soil. I discuss how the controlled manipulation of freeze?thaw cycles has varied widely among studies and propose that, despite their value in demonstrating the mechanisms of freeze?thaw action in soils, many studies of soil freeze?thaw cycles have used cycle amplitudes, freezing rates and minimum temperatures that are not relevant to temperature changes across much of the soil profile in...
We examined the effect of chronic soil warming on microbial biomass, functional capacity, and community structure in soil samples collected from the Soil Warming Study located at the Harvard Forest Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site. Twelve years of chronic soil warming at 5 �C above the ambient temperature resulted in a significant reduction in microbial biomass and the utilization of a suite of C substrates which included amino acids, carbohydrates, and carboxylic acids. Heating significantly reduced the abundance of fungal biomarkers. There was also a shift in the mineral soil microbial community towards gram positive bacteria and actinomycetes. Published in Soil Biology and Biochemistry, volume 40, issue...
Effects of large-scale weed invasion on the nature and magnitude of moisture-pulse-driven soil processes in semiarid ecosystems are not clearly understood. The objective of this study was to monitor carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions and changes in soil carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) following the application of a water pulse in Wyoming big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata ssp. wyomingensis) communities dominated by the exotic annual grass cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) and by the native perennial grass western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii). Sampling locations were established in shrub interspaces dominated by B. tectorum and P. smithi and beneath shrub canopies adjacent to interspaces dominated...
The effects of a dry-rewetting event (D/RW) on soil microbial properties and nutrient release by leaching from two soils taken from adjacent grasslands with different histories of management intensity were studied. These were a low-productivity grassland, with no history of fertilizer application and a high-productivity grassland with a history of high fertilizer application, referred to as unimproved and improved grassland, respectively. The use of phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA) revealed that the soil of the unimproved grassland had a significantly greater microbial biomass, and a greater abundance of fungi relative to bacteria than did the improved grassland. Soils from both grasslands were maintained...


map background search result map search result map Moisture pulses, trace gas emissions and soil C and N in cheatgrass and native grass-dominated sagebrush-steppe in Wyoming, USA Impacts of herbivorous insects on decomposer communities during the early stages of primary succession in a semi-arid woodland CO2 concentrations and microbial biomass data derived from incubation experiments on soils collected at Arches National Park in 2017 and 2018 Impacts of herbivorous insects on decomposer communities during the early stages of primary succession in a semi-arid woodland CO2 concentrations and microbial biomass data derived from incubation experiments on soils collected at Arches National Park in 2017 and 2018