Effects of UV photodegradation on subsequent microbial decomposition of Bromus diandrus litter
- 611 Downloads
Photodegradation acts as a direct contributor to litter decomposition in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. However, its indirect effects are unclear. Does photodegradation condition litter for subsequent microbial decomposition?
We conditioned litter of Bromus diandrus with ambient or reduced ultraviolet (UV) radiation and three periods of exposure (summer, summer-winter, and 1 year) in a California annual grassland. We then investigated how field UV exposure affected subsequent microbial decomposition of litter using a controlled laboratory incubation.
Surprisingly, microbial decomposition was decreased by UV radiation when the exposure occurred during summer but was unaffected by UV treatment for exposure longer than summer. Litter lignin concentrations did not explain these results, as they were not affected by UV radiation for any of the exposure periods. However, for the summer period exposure, UV radiation was associated with decreased litter N concentration, which corresponded with lowered subsequent microbial activity.
Our results suggest a new mechanism through which photodegradation interacts with litter microbial decomposition: photodegradation may decrease microbial decomposition through inhibition of microbial N immobilization. Our results imply that solar radiation can interact with litter N cycling dynamics to influence litter decomposition processes.
KeywordsPhoto-oxidation Photo-mineralization Dryland Grass Invasive species Drought
We thank Dad Roux-Michollet, Keri Opalk, and Ken Marchus for their assistance in the field and laboratory. We thank Oliver Chadwick and Carla D’Antonio for their valuable comments on the experimental design and on this manuscript. We thank Kate McCurdy, Eric Massey, and the University of California’s Sedgwick Reserve for providing the study site. We thank Alfonso Escudero and anonymous reviewers for comments that improved the manuscript. This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under DEB-0935984 and DEB-1406501. RDS was supported by the McNair Scholars Program.
- Brandt LA, Bohnet C, King JY (2009) Photochemically induced carbon dioxide production as a mechanism for carbon loss from plant litter in arid ecosystems. J Geophys Res Biogeosci 114, G02004Google Scholar
- Rozema J, Tosserams M, Nelissen HJM, van Heerwaarden L, Broekman RA, Flierman N (1997) Stratospheric ozone reduction and ecosystem processes: enhanced UV-B radiation affects chemical quality and decomposition of leaves of the dune grassland species Calamagrostis. Plant Ecol 128:285–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Rutledge S, Campbell DI, Baldocchi D, Schipper LA (2010) Photodegradation leads to increased carbon dioxide losses from terrestrial organic matter. Glob Chang Biol 16:3065–3074Google Scholar
- Van Soest PJ (1963) Use of detergents in the analyses of fibrous feeds. A rapid method for the determination of fiber and lignin. J Assoc Off Anal Chem 46:829–835Google Scholar