Changes in microbial community composition in the leaf litter of successional communities after volcanic eruptions of Mount Usu, northern Japan
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Changes in the fungal and bacterial biomass and community structure in litter after the volcanic eruptions of Mount Usu, northern Japan were investigated using a chronosequence approach, which is widely used for analyzing vegetation succession. The vegetation changed from bare ground (10 years after the eruptions) with little plant cover and poor soil to monotonic grassland dominated by Polygonum sachalinense with undeveloped soil (33 years) and then to deciduous broad-leaved forest dominated by Populus maximowiczii with diverse species composition and well-developed soil (100 years). At three chronosequential sites, we evaluated the compositions of phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs), carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) contents and the isotope ratios of C (δ13C) and N (δ15N) in the litter of two dominant species, Polygonum sachalinense and Populus maximowiczii. The C/N ratio, d13C and d15N in the litter of these two species were higher in the forest than that in the bare ground and grassland. The PLFAs gradually increased from the bare ground to the forest, showing that microbial biomass increased with the development of the soil and/or vegetation. The fungi-to-bacteria ratio of PLFA was constant at 5.3 ± 1.4 in all three sites, suggesting that fungi were predominant. A canonical correspondence analysis suggested that the PLFA composition was related to the successional ages and the developing soil properties (P < 0.05, ANOSIM). The chrono-sequential analysis effectively detected the successional changes in both microbial and plant communities.
KeywordsVolcanic succession Fungi-to-bacteria ratio Litter decomposition Microbial community Phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) Primary succession
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