Climatic conditions, soil fertility and atmospheric nitrogen deposition largely determine the structure and functioning of microbial communities in biocrust-dominated Mediterranean drylands

Raúl Ochoa-Hueso, Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo, Antonio Gallardo, Matthew A Bowker, Fernando T. Maestre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background and aims: Nitrogen (N) deposition and climate change are a threat to the structure and function of drylands, where biocrust-dominated communities are prevalent. We aimed at evaluating the influence of N deposition, climate and edaphic properties of semiarid areas of Spain on soil microbial communities and N cycling. Methods: We quantified soil bacteria, fungi, ammonium oxidizing bacteria and archaea, estimated the abundance of autotrophic organisms (soil pigment content) and measured a wide array of variables related to the N cycle. Results: Local climatic conditions and soil fertility were main drivers of soil microbial communities and N cycling. In particular, cyanobacteria were favored in colder sites with lower soil fertility. Higher precipitation at high-fertility sites favored green algae. Soil N availability was negatively related to MAT. Increased N deposition (4.3–7.3 kg N ha−1 yr.−1) reduced the abundance of soil bacteria and fungi, a response partially attributed to N-driven soil acidification, whereas it favored green-algae and increased available N in soil, contributing to a net ecosystem eutrophication. Conclusions: Changes in soil microbial community structure and nutrient cycling in response to N deposition and climate change will affect the overall functioning of semiarid Mediterranean ecosystems, which may have important implications in terms of long-term soil C sequestration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-282
Number of pages12
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume399
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

Fingerprint

arid lands
soil fertility
microbial communities
microbial community
nitrogen
soil
soil bacteria
Chlorophyta
green alga
bacterium
climate change
fungus
soil acidification
ecosystems
soil fungi
autotrophs
Archaea
ecosystem
eutrophication
biogeochemical cycles

Keywords

  • Acidification
  • amoA genes
  • Climate
  • Eutrophication
  • Fertility
  • N deposition
  • Organic and inorganic N
  • Soil microorganisms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Plant Science

Cite this

Climatic conditions, soil fertility and atmospheric nitrogen deposition largely determine the structure and functioning of microbial communities in biocrust-dominated Mediterranean drylands. / Ochoa-Hueso, Raúl; Delgado-Baquerizo, Manuel; Gallardo, Antonio; Bowker, Matthew A; Maestre, Fernando T.

In: Plant and Soil, Vol. 399, No. 1-2, 01.02.2016, p. 271-282.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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