Biological soil crusts increase the resistance of soil nitrogen dynamics to changes in temperatures in a semi-arid ecosystem

Delgado-Baquerizo, M. and Maestre, F T and Gallardo, A. (2012) Biological soil crusts increase the resistance of soil nitrogen dynamics to changes in temperatures in a semi-arid ecosystem. Plant and Soil. 13 p..

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Aims Biological soil crusts (BSCs), composed of mosses, lichens, liverworts and cyanobacteria, are a key component of arid and semi-arid ecosystems worldwide, and play key roles modulating several aspects of the nitrogen (N) cycle, such as N fixation and mineralization. While the performance of its constituent organisms largely depends on moisture and rainfall conditions, the influence of these environmental factors on N transformations under BSC soils has not been evaluated before. Methods The study was done using soils collected from areas devoid of vascular plants with and without lichen-dominated BSCs from a semi-arid Stipa tenacissima grassland. Soil samples were incubated under different temperature (T) and soil water content (SWC) conditions, and changes in microbial biomass-N, dissolved organic nitrogen (DON), amino acids, ammonium, nitrate and both inorganic N were monitored. To evaluate how BSCs modulate the resistance of the soil to changes in T and SWC, we estimated the Orwin and Wardle Resistance index. Results The different variables studied were more affected by changes in T than by variations in SWC at both BSC-dominated and bare ground soils. However, under BSCs, a change in the dominance of N processes from a net nitrification to a net ammonification was observed at the highest SWC, regardless of T.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This research is supported by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant agreement n° 242658 (BIOCOM) and by the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Spanish Government, Grant nº CGL2010-21381. FTM acknowledges support from the Spanish Ministerio de Educación (“Salvador de Madariaga program”, PR2010-0230) during the writing of the manuscript.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Semiarid ecosystem, N depolymerization rate, N mineralization rate, DON.
Author Affiliation: Departamento de Sistemas Físicos, Químicos y Naturales, Universidad Pablo de Olavide,Carretera de Utrera km. 1, 41013 Sevilla, Spain
Subjects: Soil Science and Microbiology > Soil Sciences
Divisions: General
Depositing User: Mr Siva Shankar
Date Deposited: 16 Aug 2012 08:21
Last Modified: 16 Aug 2012 08:21
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