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East Missoula, MT, United States

Mummey D.L.,MPG Operations | Clarke J.T.,MPG Operations | Cole C.A.,MPG Operations | O'Connor B.G.,MPG Operations | And 2 more authors.
Soil Biology and Biochemistry | Year: 2010

Knowledge of how forest management influences soil microbial community interactions is necessary for complete understanding of forest ecology. In this study, soil microbial communities, vegetation characteristics and soil physical and chemical properties were examined across a rectangular 4.57 × 36.58 m sample grid spanning adjacent coniferous forest and clearcut areas. Based on analysis of soil extracted phospholipid fatty acids, total microbial biomass, fungi and Gram-negative bacteria were found to be significantly reduced in soil of the clearcut area relative to the forest. Concurrent with changes in microbial communities, soil macroaggregate stability was reduced in the clearcut area, while no significant differences in soil pH and organic matter content were found. Variography indicated that the range at which spatial autocorrelation between samples was evident (patch size) was greater for all microbial groups analyzed in the clearcut area. Overall, less spatial structure could be resolved in the forest. Variance decomposition using principal coordinates of neighbor matrices spatial variables indicated that soil aggregate stability and vegetation characteristics accounted for significant microbial community spatial variation in analyses that included the entire plot. When clearcut and forest areas were analyzed separately, different environmental variables (pH in the forest area and soil organic matter in the clearcut) were found to account for variation in soil microbial communities, but little of this variation could be ascribed to spatial interactions. Most microbial variation explained by different components of microbial communities occurred at spatial scales other than those analyzed. Fungi accounted for over 50% of the variation in bacteria of the forest area but less than 11% in the clearcut. Conversely, AMF accounted for significant variation in clearcut area, but not forest, bacteria. These results indicate broadly disparate controls on soil microbial community composition in the two systems. We present multiple lines of evidence pointing toward shifts in fungi functional groups as a salient mechanism responsible for qualitative, quantitative and spatial distribution differences in soil microbial communities. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. Source

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