Soil microorganisms respond to five years of climate change manipulations and elevated atmospheric CO2 in a temperate heath ecosystem
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Haugwitz, M.S., Bergmark, L., Priemé, A. et al. Plant Soil (2014) 374: 211. doi:10.1007/s11104-013-1855-1
- 992 Downloads
Background and aims
Soil microbial responses to global change can affect organic matter turnover and nutrient cycling thereby altering the overall ecosystem functioning. In a large-scale experiment, we investigated the impact of 5 years of climate change and elevated atmospheric CO2 on soil microorganisms and nutrient availability in a temperate heathland.
The future climate was simulated by increased soil temperature (+0.3 °C), extended pre-summer drought (excluding 5–8 % of the annual precipitation) and elevated CO2 (+130 ppm) in a factorial design. Soil organic matter and nutrient pools were analysed and linked to microbial measures by quantitative PCR of bacteria and fungi, chloroform fumigation extraction, and substrate-induced respiration to assess their impact of climate change on nutrient availability.
Warming resulted in higher measures of fungi and bacteria, of microbial biomass and of microbial growth potential, however, this did not reduce the availability of nitrogen or phosphorus in the soil. Elevated CO2 did not directly affect the microbial measures or nutrient pools, whereas drought shifted the microbial community towards a higher fungal dominance.
Although we were not able to show strong interactive effects of the global change factors, warming and drought changed both nutrient availability and microbial community composition in the heathland soil, which could alter the ecosystem carbon and nutrient flow in the long-term.