Journal cover Journal topic
Biogeosciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
Journal topic
Volume 14, issue 8
Biogeosciences, 14, 2101–2111, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-2101-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Biogeosciences, 14, 2101–2111, 2017
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-14-2101-2017
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Research article 24 Apr 2017

Research article | 24 Apr 2017

Soil microbial community structure and diversity are largely influenced by soil pH and nutrient quality in 78-year-old tree plantations

Xiaoqi Zhou1,2,4, Zhiying Guo3, Chengrong Chen2, and Zhongjun Jia3 Xiaoqi Zhou et al.
  • 1Center for Global Change and Ecological Forecasting, Tiantong National Forest Ecosystem Observation and Research Station, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China
  • 2Australian Rivers Institute and Griffith School of Environment, Griffith University, Nathan, Brisbane 4111, Queensland, Australia
  • 3State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province 210008, China
  • 4Shanghai Key Lab for Urban Ecological Processes and Eco-restoration, School of Ecological and Environmental Sciences, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200241, China

Abstract. Forest plantations have been recognised as a key strategy management tool for stocking carbon (C) in soils, thereby contributing to climate warming mitigation. However, long-term ecological consequences of anthropogenic forest plantations on the community structure and diversity of soil microorganisms and the underlying mechanisms in determining these patterns are poorly understood. In this study, we selected 78-year-old tree plantations that included three coniferous tree species (i.e. slash pine, hoop pine and kauri pine) and a eucalypt species in subtropical Australia. We investigated the patterns of community structure, and the diversity of soil bacteria and eukaryotes by using high-throughput sequencing of 16S rRNA and 18S rRNA genes. We also measured the potential methane oxidation capacity under different tree species. The results showed that slash pine and Eucalyptus significantly increased the dominant taxa of bacterial Acidobacteria and the dominant taxa of eukaryotic Ascomycota, and formed clusters of soil bacterial and eukaryotic communities, which were clearly different from the clusters under hoop pine and kauri pine. Soil pH and nutrient quality indicators such as C : nitrogen (N) and extractable organic C : extractable organic N were key factors in determining the patterns of soil bacterial and eukaryotic communities between the different tree species treatments. Slash pine and Eucalyptus had significantly lower soil bacterial and eukaryotic operational taxonomical unit numbers and lower diversity indices than kauri pine and hoop pine. A key factor limitation hypothesis was introduced, which gives a reasonable explanation for lower diversity indices under slash pine and Eucalyptus. In addition, slash pine and Eucalyptus had a higher soil methane oxidation capacity than the other tree species. These results suggest that significant changes in soil microbial communities may occur in response to chronic disturbance by tree plantations, and highlight the importance of soil pH and physiochemical characteristics in microbially mediated ecological processes in forested soils.

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We selected three coniferous tree species (i.e. slash pine, hoop pine and kauri pine) and an eucalypt species to investigate the patterns of community structure of soil bacteria and eukaryotes. We found that soil pH and nutrient quality indicators like C : N and EOC : EON ratios were key factors determining the patterns of soil microbial communities. We introduced a key factor limitation hypothesis that gives a reasonable explanation for lower diversity indices under slash pine and Eucalyptus.
We selected three coniferous tree species (i.e. slash pine, hoop pine and kauri pine) and an...
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