Microbial Ecology

, Volume 50, Issue 1, pp 102–109 | Cite as

Elevated Atmospheric CO2 Alters Soil Microbial Communities Associated with Trembling Aspen (Populus tremuloides) Roots

  • Lori R. Janus
  • Nicholas L. Angeloni
  • John McCormack
  • Steven T. Rier
  • Nancy C. Tuchman
  • John J. KellyEmail author


Global atmospheric CO2 levels are expected to double within the next 50 years. To assess the effects of increased atmospheric CO2 on soil ecosystems, cloned trembling aspen (Populus tremuloides) seedlings were grown individually in 1 m3 open bottom root boxes under either elevated (720 ppm, ELEV) or ambient CO2 (360 ppm, AMB). After 5 years, soil cores (40 cm depth) were collected from the root boxes and divided into 0–20 cm and 20–40 cm fractions. ELEV treatment resulted in significant decreases in both soil nitrate and total soil nitrogen in both the 0–20 cm and 20–40 cm soil fractions, with a 47% decrease in soil nitrate and a 50% decrease in total soil nitrogen occurring in the 0–20 cm fraction. ELEV treatment did not result in a significant change in the amount of soil microbial biomass. However, analysis of indicator phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) indicated that ELEV treatment did result in significant increases in PLFA indicators for fungi and Gram-negative bacteria in the 0–20 cm fraction. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP) analysis was used to analyze the composition of the soil bacterial communities (using primers targeting the 16SrRNA gene) and the soil fungal communities (using primers targeting the intergenic transcribed spacer region). T-RFLP analysis revealed shifts in both bacterial and fungal community structure, as well as increases in both bacterial and fungal species richness with ELEV treatment. These results indicated that increased atmospheric CO2 had significant effects on both soil nutrient availability and the community composition of soil microbes associated with aspen roots.


Fungal Community Soil Microbial Community Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Total Soil Nitrogen Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Soil analyzed in this project were collected at the Elevated CO2 Research Facility of the University of Michigan Biological Station, where infrastructural support was provided by the U.S. DOE National Institute of Global Environmental Change (NIGEC). This research was supported, in part, by grants awarded to N.C.T. from the National Science Foundation (DEB-9903888 and DEB-0108847) and by a supplement to grant DEB-0108847 awarded to N.C.T. and J.J.K. from the National Science Foundation. The authors thank M. J. Kirisits for assistance with the T-RFLP technique, M. Haggblom for use of the MIDI system, M. Parsek for generously providing the Pseudomonas aeruginosa culture, and L. Edgerton-Warburton for generously providing the Cortinarius multiformis tissue.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lori R. Janus
    • 1
  • Nicholas L. Angeloni
    • 1
  • John McCormack
    • 1
  • Steven T. Rier
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nancy C. Tuchman
    • 1
    • 2
  • John J. Kelly
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BiologyLoyola University ChicagoChicagoUSA
  2. 2.The University of Michigan Biological StationPellstonUSA

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