Microbial Diversity and Community Structure of Postdisturbance Forest Soils as Determined by Sole-Carbon-Source Utilization Patterns
The impact of clear-cutting, scarification, and prescribed burning on forest soil microbial community structure was assessed using sole-carbon-source utilization (SCSU). Organic and mineral soil samples were collected on two dates from Pinus banksiana plots that had been clear-cut, clear-cut followed by prescribed burning, clear-cut followed by scarification, or had not been harvested. Microorganisms were extracted from the soil samples and used to inoculate Gram-negative Biolog® plates. Patterns of substrate metabolism were used to calculate Shannon, Simpson, McIntosh, and related evenness indices. Principal component analysis (PCA) resolved organic and mineral soils. Organic soil exhibited higher metabolic diversity than mineral soil. Scarified plots showed lower diversity on one date, when diversity indices were calculated using all carbon sources, and on both dates when calculated using carboxylic acids, only. The results suggest that SCSU may be used to assess the impact of forestry practices on microbial diversity and community structure by using a subset of carbon substrates.
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