Impact of Climate Change on Soil Microbial Community

  • Srikanth Mekala
  • Srilatha Polepongu


As climate changes endlessly, it becomes more important to understand possible reactions from soils to the climate system. It is a known fact that microorganisms, which are associated with plant, may stimulate plant growth and enhance resistance to disease and abiotic stresses. The effects of climate change factors, such as elevated CO2, drought, and temperature on beneficial plant–microorganism interactions are increasingly being explored. Organisms live in concert with thousands of other species, such as some beneficial and pathogenic species which have little to no effect on complex communities. Since natural communities are composed of organisms with very different life history traits and dispersal ability, it is unlikely that all of the microbial community will respond to climatic change factors in a similar way. Among the different factors related to climate change, elevated CO2 had a positive influence on the abundance of arbuscular and ectomycorrhizal fungi, whereas the effects on plant-growth-promoting bacteria and endophytic fungi were more variable. The rise in temperature effects on beneficial plant-associated microorganisms were more variable, positive, neutral, and negative, which were equally common and varied considerably with the temperature range. Likewise, plant-growth-promoting microorganisms (i.e., bacteria and fungi) positively affected plants subjected to drought stress. In this chapter, we explore how climatic change affects soil microbes and plant-associated microorganisms.


Microbial communities Drought Temperature Microorganisms Climate change 


  1. Ajwa H, Dell CJ, Rice CW (1999) Changes in enzyme activities and microbial biomass of tallgrass prairie soil as related to burning and nitrogen fertilization. Soil Biol Biochem 31:769–777CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Allison SD, Martiny JBH (2008) Resistance, resilience, and redundancy in microbial communities. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:11512–11519PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Bacon CW, De Battista J (1991) Endophytic fungi of grasses. In: Arora DK, Rai B, Mukerji KG, Knudsen GR (eds) Handbook of applied mycology Vol. 1. Soil and plants. Dekker, New York, pp 231–256Google Scholar
  4. Bais HP, Weir TL, Perry LG, Gilroy S, Vivanco JM (2006) The role of root exudates in rhizosphere interactions with plants and other organisms. Annu Rev Plant Biol 57:233–266PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  5. Balser TC, Kinzig A, Firestone MK (2001) Linking soil microbial communities and ecosystem functioning. In: Kinzig A, Pacala S, Tilman D (eds) The functional consequences of biodiversity: empirical progress and theoretical extensions. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, pp 265–294Google Scholar
  6. Baon JB, Smith SE, Alston AM (1994) Phosphorus uptake and growth of barley as affected by soil temperature and mycorrhizal infection. J Plant Nutr 17:479–492CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bell C, McIntyre N, Cox S, Tissue D, Zak J (2008) Soil microbial responses to temporal variations of moisture and temperature in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Microb Ecol 56:153–167PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Bent E (2006) Induced systemic resistance mediated by plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) and fungi (PGPF). In: Tuzun S, Bent E (eds) Multigenic and induced systemic resistance in plants. Springer, Berlin, pp 225–258CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bradford MA (2013) Thermal adaptation of decomposer communities in temperature soils. Front Microbiol 4:333. PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bradford MA, Davies CA, Frey SD, Maddox TR, Melillo JM, Mohan JE, Reynolds JF, Treseder KK, Wallenstein MD (2008) Thermal adaptation of soil microbial respiration to elevated temperature. Ecol Lett 11:1316–1327PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  11. Briones MJI, McNamara NP, Poskitt J, Crow SE, Ostle NJ (2014) Interactive biotic and abiotic regulators of soil carbon cycling: evidence from controlled climate experiments on peatland and boreal soils. Glob Chang Biol 20:2971–2982PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Brosi GB, Nelson JA, McCulley RL, Classen AT, Norby R (2009) PS 45–40: Global change factors interact with fungal endophyte symbiosis to determine tall fescue litter chemistry. The 94th ESA annual meeting, PS 45–40Google Scholar
  13. Carroll G (1988) Fungal endophytes in stems and leaves—from latent pathogen to mutualistic symbiont. Ecology 69:2–9CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chen X, Tu C, Burton MG, Watson DM, Burkey KO, Hu S (2007) Plant nitrogen acquisition and interactions under elevated carbon dioxide: impact of endophytes and mycorrhizae. Glob Chang Biol 13:1238–1249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Compant S, Cl’ement C, Sessitsch A (2010) Colonization of plant growth-promoting bacteria in the rhizo- and endosphere of plants: importance, mechanisms involved and future prospects. Soil Biol Biochem 42:669–678CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cregger MA, Schadt CW, Mc Dowell NG, Pockman WT, Classen AT (2012) Response of the soil microbial community to changes in precipitation in a semiarid ecosystem. Appl Environ Microbiol 78:8587–8594PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Cregger MA, Sanders NJ, Dunn RR, Classen AT (2014) Microbial communities respond to experimental temperature, but site matters. Peer J 2Google Scholar
  18. Davies FT Jr, Olalde-Portugal V, Aguilera-Gómez L, Alvarado MJ, Ferrera-Cerrato RC, Boutton TW (2002) Alleviation of drought stress of Chile ancho pepper (Capsicum annuum L. cv. San Luis) with arbuscular mycorrhiza indigenous to Mexico. Sci Hortic 92:347–359CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Delgado-Baquerizo M, Maestre FT, Escolar C, Gallardo A, Ochoa V, Gozalo B, Prado Comesana A (2014) Direct and indirect impacts of climate change on microbial and biocrust communities alter the resistance of the N cycle in a semiarid grassland. J Ecol 102:1592–1605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dermody O, Weltzin JF, Engel EC, Allen P, Norby RJ (2007) How do elevated CO2, warming, and reduced precipitation interact to affect soil moisture and LAI in an old field ecosystem? Plant Soil 301:255–266. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dhillion S, Roy J, Abrams M (1996) Assessing the impact of elevated CO2 in a Mediterranean model ecosystem. Plant Soil 187:333–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Drigo B, Kowalchuk GA, van Veen JA (2008) Climate change goes underground: effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on microbial community structure and activities in the rhizosphere. Biol Fertil Soils 44:667–679CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Drigo B, van Veen JA, Kowalchuk GA (2009) Specific rhizosphere bacterial and fungal groups respond to elevated atmospheric CO2. ISME J 3:1204–1217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fitter AH, Heinemeyer A, Staddon PL (2000) The impact of elevated CO2 and global climate change on arbuscular mycorrhizas: a mycocentric approach. New Phytol 147:179–187CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Frey SD, Lee J, Melillo JM, Six J (2013) The temperature response of soil microbial efficiency and its feedback to climate. Nat Clim Chang 3:395–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Furlan V, Fortin J-A (1973) Formation of endomycorrhizae by Endogone calospora on Allium cepa under three temperature regimes. Nat Can 100:467–477Google Scholar
  27. Glenn AE, Bacon CW, Price R, Hanlin RT (1996) Molecular phylogeny of Acremonium and its taxonomic implications. Mycologia 88:369–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Grabherr G, Gottfried M, Pauli H (1994) Climate effects on mountain plants. Nature 369:448–448PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Graham JH, Leonard RT, Menge JA (1982) Interaction of light and soil temperature with phosphorus inhibition of vesicular–arbuscular mycorrhiza formation. New Phytol 91:683–690CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Haase S, Neumann G, Kania A, Kuzyakov Y, Römheld V, Kandeler E (2007) Elevation of atmospheric CO2 and Nnutritional status modify nodulation, nodule-carbon supply, and root exudation of Phaseolus vulgaris L. Soil Biol Biochem 39:2208–2221CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Haase S, Philippot L, Neumann G, Marhan S, Kandeler E (2008) Local response of bacterial densities and enzyme activities to elevated atmospheric CO2 and different N supply in the rhizosphere of Phaseolus vulgaris L. Soil Biol Biochem 40:1225–1234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hagerty SB, van Groenigen KJ, Allison SD, Hungate BA, Schwartz E, Koch GW, Kolka RK, Dijkstra P (2014) Accelerated microbial turnover but constant growth efficiency with temperature in soil. Nat Clim Chang 4:903–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Hawkes CV, Hartley IP, Ineson P, Fitter AH (2008) Soil temperature affects allocation within arbuscular mycorrhizal networks and carbon transport from plant to fungus. Glob Chang Biol 14:1181–1190CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Heinemeyer A, Ineson P, Ostle N, Fitter AH (2006) Respiration of the external mycelium in the arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis shows strong dependence on recent photosynthates and acclimation to temperature. New Phytol 171:159–170PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Henry HA, Clelad EE, Field CB, Vitousek PM (2005) Interactive effects of CO2, N deposition, and climate change on plant litter quality in a California annual grassland. Oecologia 142:465–473PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  36. Horz HP, Barbrook A, Field CB, Bohannan BJM (2004) Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria respond to multifactorial global change. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 101:15136–15141PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  37. Horz HP, Rich V, Avrahami S, Bohannan BJM (2005) Methane-oxidizing bacteria in a California upland grassland soil: diversity and response to simulated global change. Appl Environ Microbiol 71:2642–2652PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hungate BA, Lund CP, Pearson HL, Chapin FS (1997) Elevated CO2 and nutrient addition alter soil N cycling and N trace gas fluxes with early season wet-up in a California annual grassland. Biogeochemistry 37:89–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kandeler E, Mosier AR, Morgan JA, Milchunas DG, King JY, Rudolph S, Tscherko D (2006) Response of soil microbial biomass and enzyme activities to the transient elevation of carbon dioxide in a semi-arid grassland. Soil Biol Biochem 38:2448–2460CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kapoor R, Mukerji KG (2006) Rhizosphere microbial community dynamics. In: Mukerji KG, Manoharachary C, Singh J (eds) Microbial activity in the rhizosphere. Springer, Berlin, pp 55–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Karhu K et al (2014) Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration rates enhanced by microbial community response. Nature 513:81–84PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  42. Klironomos JN, Allen MF, Rillig MC, Piotrowski J, MakvandiNejad S, Wolfe BE, Powell JR (2005) Abrupt rise in atmospheric CO2 overestimates community response in a model plant–soil system. Nature 433:621–624PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  43. Koide R (1991) Nutrient supply, nutrient demand and plant response to mycorrhizal infection. New Phytol 117:365–386CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Le Houérou HN (1996) Climate change, drought and desertification. J Arid Environ 34:133–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Lehto T (1992) Mycorrhizas and drought resistance of Picea sitchensis (bong) Carr. I. in conditions of nutrient deficiency. New Phytol 122:669–673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Lennon JT, Aanderud ZT, Lehmkuhl BK, Schoolmaster DR Jr (2012) Mapping the niche space of soil microorganisms using taxonomy and traits. Ecology 93:1867–1879PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  47. Lugtenberg B, Kamilova F (2009) Plant-growth-promorting Rhizobacteria. Annu Rev Microbiol 63(1):541–556PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  48. Lynch JM (1990) Introduction: some consequences of microbial rhizosphere competence for plant and soil. In: Lynch JM (ed) The rhizosphere. Wiley, West Sussex, pp 1–10Google Scholar
  49. Marilley L, Hartwig UA, Aragno M (1999) Influence of an elevated atmospheric CO2 content on soil and rhizosphere bacterial communities beneath Lolium perenne and Trifolium repens under field conditions. Microb Ecol 38:39–49PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Mayr C, Miller M, Insam H (1999) Elevated CO2 alters community-level physiological profiles and enzyme activities in alpine grassland. J Microbiol Methods 36:35–43PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Monz CA, Kunt HW, Reeves FB, Elliot ET (1994) The response ofmycorrhizal colonization to elevated CO2 and climate change in Pascopyrum smithii and Bouteloua gracilis. Plant Soil 165:75–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Newsham KK, Fitter AH, Watkinson AR (1995) Multifunctionality and biodiversity in arbuscular mycorrhizas. Trends Ecol Evol 10:407–411PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Niinisto SM, Silvola J, Kellomaki S (2004) Soil CO2 efflux in a boreal pine forest under atmospheric CO2 enrichment and air temperature. Glob Chang Biol 10:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Parmesan C, Yohe G (2003) A globally coherent fingerprint of climate change impacts across natural systems. Nature 421:37–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Prasad R, Kumar M, Varma A (2015) Role of PGPR in soil fertility and plant health. In: Egamberdieva D, Shrivastava S, Varma A (eds) Plant growth-promoting Rhizobacteria (PGPR) and medicinal plants. Springer International Publishing, Switzerland, pp 247–260CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Querejeta JI, Egerton-Warburton LM, Allen MF (2009) Topographic position modulates the mycorrhizal response of oak trees to interannual rainfall variability. Ecology 90:649–662PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  57. Rinnan R, Michelsen A, Baath E, Jonasson S (2007) Fifteen years of climate change manipulations alter soil microbial communities in a subarctic heath ecosystem. Glob Chang Biol 13:28–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Sherwood M, Carroll G (1974) Fungal succession on needles and young twigs of old-growth Douglas fir. Mycologia 66:499–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Shi S, Condron L, Larsen S, Richardson AE, Jones E, Jiao J, O’Callaghan M, Stewart A (2011) In situ sampling of low molecular weight organic anions from rhizosphere of Pinus radiata grown in a rhizotron system. Environ Exp Bot 70:131–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Stone JK, Bacon CW, White JF (2000) An overview of endophytic microbes: endophytism definded. In: Bacon CW, White JF (eds) Microbial endophytes. Dekker, New York, pp 3–29Google Scholar
  61. Treseder KK (2004) A meta-analysis of mycorrhizal responses to nitrogen, phosphorus, and atmospheric CO2 in field studies. New Phytol 164:347–355CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. van der Putten WH (2012) Climate change, aboveground-belowground interactions and species range shifts. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 43:365–383CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. van Veen K, Liljeroth E, Lekkerkerk J (1991) Carbon fluxes in plant-soil systems at elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Ecol Appl 1:175–181PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Waldon HB, Jenkins MB, Virginia RA, Harding EE (1989) Characteristics of woodland rhizobial population from surface- and deep-soil environments of the Sonoran Desert. Appl Environ Microbiol 55:3058–3064PubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  65. Walther GR, Post E, Convey P, Menzel A, Parmesan C, Beebee TJC, Fromentin JM, Hoegh-Guldberg O, Bairlein F (2002) Ecological responses to recent climate change. Nature 416:389–395CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. White JF Jr (1994) Taxonomic relationships among the members of the Balansiae (Clavicipitales). In: Bacon CW, White JF Jr (eds) Biotechnology of endophytic Fungi of Grasse. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, pp 3–20Google Scholar
  67. White JF Jr, Reddy PV (1998) Examination of structure and molecular phylogenetic relationships of some graminicolous symbionts in genera Epichloë and Parepichloë. Mycologia 90:226–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zak DR, Pregitzer KS, Curtis PS, Teeri JA, Fogel R, Randlett DL (1993) Elevated atmospheric CO2 and feedback between carbon and nitrogen cycles. Plant Soil 151:105–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zogg GP, Zak DR, Ringelberg DB, MacDonald NW, Pregitzer KS, White DC (1997) Compositional and functional shifts in microbial communities due to soil temperature. Soil Sci Soc Am J 61:475–481CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Srikanth Mekala
    • 1
  • Srilatha Polepongu
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Vegetable Science, CCSHAUHisarIndia
  2. 2.Department of Plant Pathology, PJSTAUAswaraopetaIndia

Personalised recommendations