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Title: Spatial variation in edaphic characteristics is a stronger control than nitrogen inputs in regulating soil microbial effects on a desert grass

Abstract

Increased atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition can have wide-ranging effects on plant community structure and ecosystem function, some of which may be indirectly mediated by soil microbial responses to an altered biogeochemical environment. In this study, soils from a field N fertilization experiment that spanned a soil texture gradient were used as inocula in the greenhouse to assess the indirect effects of soil microbial communities on growth of a desert grass. Plant performance and interaction with soil microbiota were evaluated via plant above- and belowground biomass, leaf N concentration, and root fungal colonization. Nitrogen fertilization in the field increased the benefits of soil microbial inoculation to plant leaf N concentration, but did not alter the effect of soil microbes on plant growth. Plant-microbe interaction outcomes differed most strongly among sites with different soil textures, where the soil microbial community from the sandiest site was most beneficial to host plant growth. In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that in a desert grassland, increases in atmospheric N deposition may exert a more subtle influence on plant-microbe interactions by altering plant nutrient status, whereas edaphic factors can alter the whole-plant growth response to soil microbial associates.

Authors:
 [1];  [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [1]
  1. Univ. of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM (United States). Dept. of Biology
  2. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
  3. U.S. Geological Survey, Moab, UT (United States). Southwest Biological Science Center
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
OSTI Identifier:
1351204
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-17-22348
Journal ID: ISSN 0140-1963
Grant/Contract Number:
AC52-06NA25396
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Journal of Arid Environments
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 142; Journal Issue: C; Journal ID: ISSN 0140-1963
Publisher:
Elsevier
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; Biological Science

Citation Formats

Chung, Y. Anny, Sinsabaugh, Robert L., Kuske, Cheryl Rae, Reed, Sasha C., and Rudgers, Jennifer A. Spatial variation in edaphic characteristics is a stronger control than nitrogen inputs in regulating soil microbial effects on a desert grass. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2017.03.005.
Chung, Y. Anny, Sinsabaugh, Robert L., Kuske, Cheryl Rae, Reed, Sasha C., & Rudgers, Jennifer A. Spatial variation in edaphic characteristics is a stronger control than nitrogen inputs in regulating soil microbial effects on a desert grass. United States. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2017.03.005.
Chung, Y. Anny, Sinsabaugh, Robert L., Kuske, Cheryl Rae, Reed, Sasha C., and Rudgers, Jennifer A. Wed . "Spatial variation in edaphic characteristics is a stronger control than nitrogen inputs in regulating soil microbial effects on a desert grass". United States. doi:10.1016/j.jaridenv.2017.03.005. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1351204.
@article{osti_1351204,
title = {Spatial variation in edaphic characteristics is a stronger control than nitrogen inputs in regulating soil microbial effects on a desert grass},
author = {Chung, Y. Anny and Sinsabaugh, Robert L. and Kuske, Cheryl Rae and Reed, Sasha C. and Rudgers, Jennifer A.},
abstractNote = {Increased atmospheric nitrogen (N) deposition can have wide-ranging effects on plant community structure and ecosystem function, some of which may be indirectly mediated by soil microbial responses to an altered biogeochemical environment. In this study, soils from a field N fertilization experiment that spanned a soil texture gradient were used as inocula in the greenhouse to assess the indirect effects of soil microbial communities on growth of a desert grass. Plant performance and interaction with soil microbiota were evaluated via plant above- and belowground biomass, leaf N concentration, and root fungal colonization. Nitrogen fertilization in the field increased the benefits of soil microbial inoculation to plant leaf N concentration, but did not alter the effect of soil microbes on plant growth. Plant-microbe interaction outcomes differed most strongly among sites with different soil textures, where the soil microbial community from the sandiest site was most beneficial to host plant growth. In conclusion, the findings of this study suggest that in a desert grassland, increases in atmospheric N deposition may exert a more subtle influence on plant-microbe interactions by altering plant nutrient status, whereas edaphic factors can alter the whole-plant growth response to soil microbial associates.},
doi = {10.1016/j.jaridenv.2017.03.005},
journal = {Journal of Arid Environments},
number = C,
volume = 142,
place = {United States},
year = {Wed Mar 22 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Wed Mar 22 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

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  • Here, we combined phytoremediation and soil microbial nitrification and denitrification cycles to reduce nitrate and ammonium levels at a former uranium mill site near Monument Valley, Arizona. Ammonia used in uranium extraction was present throughout the soil profile. Sulfate,applied as sulfuric acid to solubilize uranium, was also present in the soil. These contaminants were leaching from a denuded area where a tailings pile had been removed and were migrating away from the site in groundwater. We planted the source area with two deep-rooted native shrubs, Atriplex cansescens and Sarcobatus vermiculatus, and irrigated transplants for 11 years at 20% the ratemore » of potential evapotranspiration to stimulate growth, then discontinued irrigation for 4 years. Over 15 years, total nitrogen levels dropped 82%, from 347 to 64 mg kg –1. Analysis of δ 15N supported our hypothesis that coupled microbial nitrification and denitrification processes were responsible for the loss of N. Soil sulfate levels changed little; however, evapotranspiration reduced sulfate leaching into the aquifer. For arid sites where traditional pump-and-treat methods are problematic, the Monument Valley data suggest that alternatives that incorporate native plants and rely on vadose zone biogeochemistry and hydrology could be a sustainable remediation for nitrogen contaminated soil.« less
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