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Plant and Soil

, Volume 318, Issue 1–2, pp 81–91 | Cite as

Site identity and moss species as determinants of soil microbial community structure in Norway spruce forests across three vegetation zones

  • Lisbet Holm BachEmail author
  • Åsa Frostegård
  • Mikael Ohlson
Regular Article

Abstract

Soil microbial community structure was investigated by PLFA-analysis in four spruce forests in Norway. The maximum latitudinal distance between the sites was approximately 350 km. Bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus dominated the forest floor vegetation in the study sites, which were selected because of the vegetation type. Soil samples were taken from all four sites under close to 100% homogeneous ground cover of each of two feathermoss species, i.e. Hylocomium splendens or Pleurozium schreberi, respectively. These mosses are ubiquitous in the boreal forest and constitute an abundant component of the forest floor vegetation over vast areas. Since there are no studies on how these mosses affect soil microbial community structure, our first aim was to investigate the effect of moss species on soil microbial communities. Our second aim was to investigate whether microbial communities differ among geographically separated forest sites with similar vegetation across vegetation zones. Soil microbial community structure differed between the study sites, although they appeared similar in terms of vegetation and abiotic soil conditions. Study site was the most important predictor of the variation in the PLFAs, more important than moss species, although there was a tendency for separation of microbial community structure between the two moss species.

Keywords

Boreal forest Feathermosses Hylocomium splendens Picea abies Pleurozium schreberi PLFA 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the Research Council of Norway for financial support. Steen Ravn Andersen helped in the field, John-Arvid Grytnes gave statistical advice and Vilma Bischof improved the English.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisbet Holm Bach
    • 1
    Email author
  • Åsa Frostegård
    • 2
  • Mikael Ohlson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Natural Resource ManagementNorwegian University of Life SciencesÅsNorway
  2. 2.Department of Chemistry, Biotechnology and Food ScienceNorwegian University of Life sciencesÅsNorway

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