Moisture activation and carbon use efficiency of soil microbial communities along an aridity gradient in the Atacama Desert

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Title:Main Title: Moisture activation and carbon use efficiency of soil microbial communities along an aridity gradient in the Atacama Desert
Description:Abstract: Due to their extreme aridity, high rate of UV irradiation and low soil carbon (C) content, the soils of the Atacama Desert represent one of the world's most hostile environments for microbial life and its survival. Although in- frequent, climatic conditions may, however, prevail which temporarily remove these stresses and allow life to briefly flourish. In this study we investigated the response of soil microbial communities to water and C availability across an aridity gradient (semi-arid, arid, hyper-arid) within the Atacama Desert. We simulated the impact of hyper-dry spells, humid fogs and precipitation events on the activation of the microbial community and the subsequent mineralization of low (glucose) and high (plant residues) molecular weight C substrates. Our results showed that mineralization rate followed the trend: semi-arid > arid > hyper-arid. Some glucose mineralization was apparent under hyper-arid conditions (water activity, aw = 0.05), although this was 10-fold slower than under humid conditions and ca. 200-fold slower than under wet conditions. A lag phase in CO2 production after glucose-C addition in the hyper-arid soils suggested that mineralization was limited by the low microbial biomass in these soils. No lag phase was apparent in the corresponding semi-arid or arid soils. In contrast, the breakdown of the plant residues was initially much slower than for glucose and involved a much longer lag phase in all soils, suggesting that mineralization was limited by low exoenzyme activity, particularly in the humid and hyper-dry soils. Our results also showed that microbial C use efficiency followed the trend: hyper-arid > arid > semi-arid. In conclusion, we have shown that even under hyper-arid conditions, very low levels of microbial activity and C turnover do occur. Further, the microbial communities are capable of rapidly responding to available C once water becomes more abundant, however, this response is both biomass and metabolically limited in hyper-arid soils.
Identifier:10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.10.026 (DOI)
Responsible Party
Creators:Davey Jones (Author), Sara Olivera-Ardid (Author), Erwin Klumpp (Author), Claudia Knief (Author), Paul Hill (Author), Eva Lehndorff (Author), Roland Bol (Author)
Publisher:Elsevier Science, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Publication Year:2019
Topic
CRC1211 Topic:Biology
Related Subproject:B5
Subject:Keyword: Biogeochemistry of Soils
File Details
Filename:1-s2.0-S0038071717306284-main.pdf
Data Type:Data Paper - Article
File Size:357 KB
Date:Other: 03.07.2019
Mime Type:application/pdf
Data Format:PDF
Language:English
Status:Completed
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Download Permission:Only Project Members
General Access and Use Conditions:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Access Limitations:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Licence:None
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Specific Information - Publication
Publication Status:Accepted
Review Status:Not peer reviewed
Publication Type:Article
Article Type:Journal
Source:Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume:117
Number of Pages:4 (68 - 71)
Metadata Details
Metadata Creator:Ramona Mörchen
Metadata Created:03.07.2019
Metadata Last Updated:03.07.2019
Subproject:B5
Funding Phase:1
Metadata Language:English
Metadata Version:V50
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