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Chemical and microbiological changes in Norway spruce deadwood during the early stage of decomposition as a function of exposure in an alpine setting


Bardelli, Tommaso; Gómez-Brandón, María; Fornasier, Flavio; Arfaioli, Paola; Egli, Markus; Pietramellara, Giacomo; Ceccherini, Maria Teresa; Insam, Heribert; Ascher-Jenull, Judith (2018). Chemical and microbiological changes in Norway spruce deadwood during the early stage of decomposition as a function of exposure in an alpine setting. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 50:e1438347.

Abstract

Alpine ecosystems are vulnerable to ever-changing environmental conditions, leading to shifts in vegetation distribution and composition with implications on soil functionality and carbon (C) turnover. Although deadwood represents an important global C stock, scarce information is available on how slope exposure influences the wood-inhabiting microbiota throughout the decomposition process in an Alpine setting. We therefore evaluated the impact of slope exposure (north- vs. south-facing sites) on physicochemical and microbiological properties (microbial abundance based on real-time PCR: fungal 18S rRNA, dinitrogen reductase [nifH]; microbial biomass: double strand DNA; and microbial activity: hydrolytic enzyme activities of the main nutrient cycles) of Picea abies wood blocks and the underlying soil in a field experiment in the Italian Alps during a three-year period. Overall, a higher abundance of fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria was recorded in the soil at the north-facing site where cooler and moister conditions were observed. In contrast, no exposure effects were found for these two microbial groups in the wood blocks, while their abundance increased over time, accompanied by more acidic conditions with progressing decay. The impact of exposure was also enzyme specific and time dependent for both the P. abies wood blocks and the underlying soil.

Abstract

Alpine ecosystems are vulnerable to ever-changing environmental conditions, leading to shifts in vegetation distribution and composition with implications on soil functionality and carbon (C) turnover. Although deadwood represents an important global C stock, scarce information is available on how slope exposure influences the wood-inhabiting microbiota throughout the decomposition process in an Alpine setting. We therefore evaluated the impact of slope exposure (north- vs. south-facing sites) on physicochemical and microbiological properties (microbial abundance based on real-time PCR: fungal 18S rRNA, dinitrogen reductase [nifH]; microbial biomass: double strand DNA; and microbial activity: hydrolytic enzyme activities of the main nutrient cycles) of Picea abies wood blocks and the underlying soil in a field experiment in the Italian Alps during a three-year period. Overall, a higher abundance of fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria was recorded in the soil at the north-facing site where cooler and moister conditions were observed. In contrast, no exposure effects were found for these two microbial groups in the wood blocks, while their abundance increased over time, accompanied by more acidic conditions with progressing decay. The impact of exposure was also enzyme specific and time dependent for both the P. abies wood blocks and the underlying soil.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:Earth-Surface Processes, Global and Planetary Change, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 January 2018
Deposited On:30 Jan 2019 15:50
Last Modified:17 Sep 2019 19:57
Publisher:Taylor & Francis
ISSN:1938-4246
OA Status:Green
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1080/15230430.2018.1438347

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