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Decomposition of labile and recalcitrant coniferous litter fractions affected by temperature during the growing season

  • Veronika JílkováEmail author
  • Kristýna Dufková
  • Tomáš Cajthaml
Original Paper
  • 42 Downloads

Abstract

Temperate coniferous forest soils are considered important sinks of soil organic carbon (C). Fresh C inputs may, however, affect soil microbial activity, leading to increased organic matter decomposition and carbon dioxide production. Litter consists of labile and recalcitrant fractions which are thought to be utilized by distinct microbial communities and at different rates during the growing season. In this study, we incubated the whole litter (LC + RC), the labile (LC) and the recalcitrant (RC) fractions with the coniferous soil at two temperatures representing spring/autumn (10 °C) and summer (20 °C) for one month. Soil respiration and microbial community composition were regularly determined using phospholipid fatty acids as biomarkers. The LC fraction greatly increased soil respiration at the beginning of the incubation period but this effect was rather short-term. The effect of the RC fraction persisted longer and, together with the LC + RC fraction, respiration increased during the whole incubation period. Decomposition of the RC fraction was more strongly affected by higher temperatures than decomposition of the more labile fractions (LC and LC + RC). However, when we consider the relative increase in soil respiration compared to the dH2O treatment, respiration increased more at a lower temperature, suggesting that available C is more important for microbial metabolism at lower temperatures. Although C was added only once in our study, no changes in microbial community composition were detected, possibly because the microbial community is adapted to relatively low amounts of additional C such as the amounts naturally found in litter.

Keywords

Temperate forest Picea abies Soil respiration Hot water-extractable carbon PLFA (phospholipid fatty acids) 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the Czech Academy of Sciences (L200961602; MSM200961606; Otevřená věda, fellowship No. 1.062) and by the European Regional Development Fund-Project “Research of key soil–water ecosystem interactions at the SoWa Research Infrastructure” (No.CZ.02.1.01/0.0/0.0/16_013/0001782). Part of the equipment used for this study was purchased from the Operational Programme Prague-Competitiveness (Project CZ.2.16/3.1.00/21516). The authors wish to thank Kateřina Jandová for total carbon analyses of the initial forest soil and litter and Šárka and Gerrit Angst for helpful comments on the manuscript.

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Copyright information

© Northeast Forestry University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Veronika Jílková
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kristýna Dufková
    • 2
  • Tomáš Cajthaml
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Biology Centre of the Czech Academy of SciencesInstitute of Soil Biology [and SoWa RI]České BudějoviceCzech Republic
  2. 2.Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Institute for Environmental StudiesCharles University in PraguePragueCzech Republic
  4. 4.Institute of MicrobiologyCzech Academy of SciencesPragueCzech Republic

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