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Effect of altitude and season on microbial activity, abundance and community structure in Alpine forest soils

Effect of altitude and season on microbial activity, abundance and community structure in Alpine... In the current context of climate change, the study of microbial communities along altitudinal gradients is especially useful. Only few studies considered altitude and season at the same time. We characterized four forest sites located in the Italian Alps, along an altitude gradient (545–2000 m a.s.l.), to evaluate the effect of altitude in spring and autumn on soil microbial properties. Each site in each season was characterized with regard to soil temperature, physicochemical properties, microbial activities (respiration, enzymes), community level physiological profiles (CLPP), microbial abundance and community structure (PLFA). Increased levels of soil organic matter (SOM) and nutrients were found at higher altitudes and in autumn, resulting in a significant increase of (soil dry-mass related) microbial activities and abundance at higher altitudes. Significant site- and season-specific effects were found for enzyme production. The significant interaction of the factors site and incubation temperature for soil microbial activities indicated differences in microbial communities and their responses to temperature among sites. CLPP revealed site-specific effects. Microbial community structure was influenced by altitudinal, seasonal and/or site-specific effects. Correlations demonstrated that altitude, and not season, was the main factor determining the changes in abiotic and biotic characteristics at the sites investigated. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png FEMS Microbiology Ecology Oxford University Press

Effect of altitude and season on microbial activity, abundance and community structure in Alpine forest soils

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References (79)

Publisher
Oxford University Press
Copyright
© FEMS 2016. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com
ISSN
0168-6496
eISSN
1574-6941
DOI
10.1093/femsec/fiw008
pmid
26787774
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

In the current context of climate change, the study of microbial communities along altitudinal gradients is especially useful. Only few studies considered altitude and season at the same time. We characterized four forest sites located in the Italian Alps, along an altitude gradient (545–2000 m a.s.l.), to evaluate the effect of altitude in spring and autumn on soil microbial properties. Each site in each season was characterized with regard to soil temperature, physicochemical properties, microbial activities (respiration, enzymes), community level physiological profiles (CLPP), microbial abundance and community structure (PLFA). Increased levels of soil organic matter (SOM) and nutrients were found at higher altitudes and in autumn, resulting in a significant increase of (soil dry-mass related) microbial activities and abundance at higher altitudes. Significant site- and season-specific effects were found for enzyme production. The significant interaction of the factors site and incubation temperature for soil microbial activities indicated differences in microbial communities and their responses to temperature among sites. CLPP revealed site-specific effects. Microbial community structure was influenced by altitudinal, seasonal and/or site-specific effects. Correlations demonstrated that altitude, and not season, was the main factor determining the changes in abiotic and biotic characteristics at the sites investigated.

Journal

FEMS Microbiology EcologyOxford University Press

Published: Mar 1, 2016

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