Tree species identity alters decomposition of understory litter and associated microbial communities : a case study

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Angst , S , Harantova , L , Baldrian , P , Angst , G , Cajthaml , T , Strakova , P , Blahut , J , Vesela , H & Frouz , J 2019 , ' Tree species identity alters decomposition of understory litter and associated microbial communities : a case study ' , Biology and Fertility of Soils , vol. 55 , no. 5 , pp. 525-538 . https://doi.org/10.1007/s00374-019-01360-z

Title: Tree species identity alters decomposition of understory litter and associated microbial communities : a case study
Author: Angst, Sarka; Harantova, Lenka; Baldrian, Petr; Angst, Gerrit; Cajthaml, Tomas; Strakova, Petra; Blahut, Jan; Vesela, Hana; Frouz, Jan
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Department of Forest Sciences
Date: 2019-07
Language: eng
Number of pages: 14
Belongs to series: Biology and Fertility of Soils
ISSN: 0178-2762
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/308751
Abstract: Investigations on how tree species modify decomposition of understory litter have rarely been conducted, although potentially having impacts on soil carbon stocks and stability. The aim of our study was to disentangle the effects different tree species (alder, spruce, oak, and willow) exert on litter decomposition by comparing decomposition patterns and microbial measures (phospholipid fatty acids and microbial DNA) of both tree and understory (Calamagrostis epigejos) litter exposed at the respective tree species stands of a common garden experiment. An initially uniform mass loss of understory litter exposed at the stands suggests that inherent litter quality (assessed by C:N ratios and lignin content) was the major driver in early decomposition. However, in later stages of our experiment, decomposition of understory litter began to differ among the stands, suggesting a delayed tree species effect. Here, differences in microbial community composition caused by tree species identity (e.g., through varying N supply or phenolics leached from low-quality litter) were likely the major determinants affecting the decomposition of understory litter. However, in these advanced decomposition stages, tree species identity only partly altered microbial communities associated with understory litter. These results indicate that the development of microbial communities on understory litter (and its decay) is likely a combined result of inherent chemical composition and tree species identity.
Subject: Common garden experiment
Litter chemistry
PLFA
DNA
Bacteria
Fungi
ORGANIC-MATTER
SPONTANEOUS SUCCESSION
FUNGAL COMMUNITIES
SOIL PROPERTIES
FOREST
NITROGEN
DYNAMICS
VEGETATION
CHEMISTRY
QUALITY
1183 Plant biology, microbiology, virology
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