Journal of Mountain Science

, Volume 13, Issue 8, pp 1442–1452 | Cite as

Effects of experimental warming on soil microbial communities in two contrasting subalpine forest ecosystems, eastern Tibetan Plateau, China

  • Di-di Sun
  • Yue-jiao Li
  • Wen-qiang Zhao
  • Zi-liang Zhang
  • Dan-dan Li
  • Chun-zhang ZhaoEmail author
  • Qing LiuEmail author


Soil microbial communities are primarily regulated by environmental temperature. Our study investigated the effects of global warming on soil microbial community composition as measured via phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) analysis and soil chemical characteristics in relation to soil depth in a dragon spruce plantation and a spruce-fir-dominated natural forestin the Eastern Tibetan Plateau. Open-top chambers were utilized to increase the soil and air temperature. Soil samples were collected from the 0-10 cm, 10-20 cm, and 20-30 cm layers after a 4-year warming. Our results showed that the soil microbial community and the contents of TC (Total carbon), TN (Total nitrogen), NO 3 - , and NH 4 + responded differently to warming in the two contrasting forests, especially at the 0-10 cm soil depth. Warming increased soil microbial biomass at the 0-20 cm depth of soil in natural forest but reduced it at the 0-10 cm depth ofsoil in the plantation. In contrast, the TC and TN contents were reduced in most soil layers of a natural forest but increased in all of the soil layers of the plantation under warming conditions. This result suggested that the effects of warming on soil microbial community and soil C and N pools would differ according to soil depth and forest types; thus, the two contrasting forests would under go differing changes following the future climate warming in this region.


Microbial biomass Microbial community Phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) Eastern Tibetan Plateau Warming 


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Copyright information

© Science Press, Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, CAS and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Di-di Sun
    • 1
  • Yue-jiao Li
    • 1
  • Wen-qiang Zhao
    • 1
  • Zi-liang Zhang
    • 1
  • Dan-dan Li
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chun-zhang Zhao
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Qing Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Mountain Ecological Restoration and Bioresource Utilization & Ecological Restoration and Biodiversity Conservation Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina
  2. 2.Ecological Security and Protection Key Laboratory of Sichuan ProvinceMianyang Normal UniversityMianyangChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Soil and Sustainable Agriculture, Institute of Soil ScienceChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingChina

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