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    Author(s): S.A. Yarwood; E.A. Brewer; R.R. Yarwood; K. Lajtha; D.D. Myrold
    Date: 2013
    Source: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Pacific Northwest Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (1003.91 KB)


    One explanation given for the high microbial diversity found in soils is that they contain a large inactive biomass that is able to persist in soils for long periods of time. This persistent microbial fraction may help to buffer the functionality of the soil community during times of low nutrients by providing a reservoir of specialized functions that can be reactivated when conditions improve. A study was designed to test the hypothesis: in soils lacking fresh root or detrital inputs, microbial community composition may persist relatively unchanged. Upon addition of new inputs, this community will be stimulated to grow and break down litter similarly to control soils. Soils from two of the Detrital Input and Removal Treatments (DIRT) at the H. J. Andrews Experimental Forest, the no-input and control treatment plots, were used in a microcosm experiment where Douglas-fir needles were added to soils. After 3 and 151 days of incubation, soil microbial DNA and RNA was extracted and characterized using quantitative PCR (qPCR) and 454 pyrosequencing. The abundance of 16S and 28S gene copies and RNA copies did not vary with soil type or amendment; however, treatment differences were observed in the abundance of archaeal ammonia-oxidizing amoA gene abundance. Analysis of110,000 bacterial sequences showed a significant change in the active (RNA-based) community between day 3 and day 151, but microbial composition was similar between soil types. These results show that even after 12 years of plant litter exclusion, the legacy of community composition was well buffered against a dramatic disturbance.

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    Yarwood, S.A.; Brewer, E.A.; Yarwood, R.R.; Lajtha, K.; Myrold, D.D. 2013. Soil microbe active community composition and capability of responding to litter addition after 12 years of no inputs. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 79: 1385-1392.


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    soil, microbe, litter, active community, DNA, amoA, RNA-based

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