Two decades of altered snow cover does not affect soil microbial ability to catabolize carbon compounds in an oceanic alpine heath

E. R. Jasper Wubs, Sarah J. Woodin, Marc I. Stutter, Sonja Wipf, Martin Sommerkorn, René van der Wal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Snow strongly affects ecosystem functioning in alpine environments with potential carry-over effects outside of snow periods. However, it is unclear whether changes in snow cover affect microbial community functioning in summer. In a field experiment, we tested whether manipulation of snow cover affected the functional capabilities of the microbial community either directly, or indirectly through concomitant changes in the vegetation. While 23 years of differential snow depth and persistence fundamentally changed the vegetation composition, the microbial community's ability to catabolize a range of carbon compounds was not altered. Instead, soil moisture content was the key driver of carbon catabolism by the microbial community.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-104
Number of pages4
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume124
Early online date9 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2018

Bibliographical note

We are grateful to Christian Rixen for his help in the field and Clare Cameron, Yvonne Cook and Roxane Andersen for their help in the lab. ERJW was supported by an ERASMUS exchange scholarship (European Union, UU-ER/2008/006730) and analyses were funded by the James Hutton Institute and the University of Aberdeen. SW was funded by Swiss National Science Foundation grant PBZHA—117043 and the de Giacomi and HH Schaefer foundations. The data are available from the Dryad Digital Repository: https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.85hg502.

Keywords

  • Carbon cycling
  • Carry-over effects
  • Climate change
  • Microbial community
  • Alpine moss heath
  • Soil legacy

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