Soil bacterial community structure responses to precipitation reduction and forest management in forest ecosystems across Germany.

PLoS ONE. 2015;10(4):e0122539 DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0122539

 

Journal Homepage

Journal Title: PLoS ONE

ISSN: 1932-6203 (Online)

Publisher: Public Library of Science (PLoS)

LCC Subject Category: Medicine | Science

Country of publisher: United States

Language of fulltext: English

Full-text formats available: PDF, HTML, XML

 

AUTHORS

Katja Felsmann
Mathias Baudis
Katharina Gimbel
Zachary E Kayler
Ruth Ellerbrock
Helge Bruelheide
Johannes Bruckhoff
Erik Welk
Heike Puhlmann
Markus Weiler
Arthur Gessler
Andreas Ulrich

EDITORIAL INFORMATION

Peer review

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Instructions for authors

Time From Submission to Publication: 24 weeks

 

Abstract | Full Text

Soil microbial communities play an important role in forest ecosystem functioning, but how climate change will affect the community composition and consequently bacterial functions is poorly understood. We assessed the effects of reduced precipitation with the aim of simulating realistic future drought conditions for one growing season on the bacterial community and its relation to soil properties and forest management. We manipulated precipitation in beech and conifer forest plots managed at different levels of intensity in three different regions across Germany. The precipitation reduction decreased soil water content across the growing season by between 2 to 8% depending on plot and region. T-RFLP analysis and pyrosequencing of the 16S rRNA gene were used to study the total soil bacterial community and its active members after six months of precipitation reduction. The effect of reduced precipitation on the total bacterial community structure was negligible while significant effects could be observed for the active bacteria. However, the effect was secondary to the stronger influence of specific soil characteristics across the three regions and management selection of overstorey tree species and their respective understorey vegetation. The impact of reduced precipitation differed between the studied plots; however, we could not determine the particular parameters being able to modify the response of the active bacterial community among plots. We conclude that the moderate drought induced by the precipitation manipulation treatment started to affect the active but not the total bacterial community, which points to an adequate resistance of the soil microbial system over one growing season.