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 infrequent, 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: (DOI)
Citation Advice:Davey L. Jones, Sara Olivera-Ardid, Erwin Klumpp, Claudia Knief, Paul W. Hill, Eva Lehndorff, Roland Bol, Moisture activation and carbon use efficiency of soil microbial communities along an aridity gradient in the Atacama Desert, Soil Biology and Biochemistry, Volume 117, 2018, Pages 68-71, ISSN 0038-0717,
Responsible Party
Creators:Davey Jones (Point Of Contact), Sara Olivera-Ardid (Author), Erwin Klumpp (Author), Claudia Knief (Principal Investigator), Paul Hill (Author), Eva Lehndorff (Author), Roland Bol (Principal Investigator)
Publication Year:2018
CRC1211 Topic:Biology
Related Subprojects:B4, B5
Subjects:Keywords: Biodiversity, Taxonomy , Molecular Biology, Biogeography
Geogr. Information Topic:Biota
File Details
Data Type:Data Paper - Research Article
File Size:403 KB
Date:Available: 20.11.2017
Mime Type:application/pdf
Data Format:PDF
Download Permission:Free
Download Information:Open access publication
General Access and Use Conditions:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Access Limitations:According to the CRC1211DB data policy agreement.
Specific Information - Publication
Publication Status:Published
Review Status:Peer reviewed
Publication Type:Article
Article Type:Journal
Source:Soil Biology and Biochemistry
Source Website:
Number of Pages:4 (68 - 71)
Metadata Details
Metadata Creator:Anna Hakobyan
Metadata Created:29.11.2023
Metadata Last Updated:29.11.2023
Funding Phase:2
Metadata Language:English
Metadata Version:V50
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