skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Rapid Shifts in Soil Nutrients and Decomposition Enzyme Activity in Early Succession Following Forest Fire

Abstract

In post-disturbance landscapes nutrient availability has proven a major control on ecological succession. In this study, we examined variation in connections between soil nutrient availability and decomposition extracellular enzyme activity (EEA) across post fire secondary succession in forest soils as well as after a secondary flood disturbance. We also examined possible linkages between edaphic properties and bacterial communities based on 16S rRNA gene analysis. We found that with advancing succession in a post-fire landscape, the relationship between soil nutrients and EEA became stronger over time. In general, late successional soils showed stronger connections between EEA and soil nutrient status, while early successional soils were marked by a complete decoupling of nutrients and EEA. We also found that soil moisture and bacterial communities of post-fire disturbance soils were susceptible to change following the secondary flood disturbance, while undisturbed, reference forest soils were not. Our results demonstrate that nutrient pools correlating with EEA change over time. While past work has largely focused on ecosystem succession on decadal timescales, our work suggests that nutrients shift in their relative importance as a control of decomposition EEA in the earliest stages of secondary succession. Furthermore, this work emphasizes the relevance of successional stage, even onmore » short timescales, in predicting rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling, especially as disturbances become more frequent in a rapidly changing world.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];  [1];  [6];  [1]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  3. New Mexico State Univ., Las Cruces, NM (United States)
  4. Univ. de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest (France)
  5. The Univ. of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX (United States)
  6. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1393742
Report Number(s):
PNNL-SA-120687
Journal ID: ISSN 1999-4907
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC05-76RL01830
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Forests
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 1999-4907
Publisher:
MDPI
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; carbon; decomposition; disturbance; ecosystem process; extracellular enzymes; exoenzymes; forest fire; nitrogen; soil enzymes; succession

Citation Formats

Knelman, Joseph E., Graham, Emily B., Ferrenberg, Scott, Lecoeuvre, Aurelien, Labrado, Amanda, Darcy, John L., Nemergut, Diana R., and Schmidt, Steven K. Rapid Shifts in Soil Nutrients and Decomposition Enzyme Activity in Early Succession Following Forest Fire. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.3390/f8090347.
Knelman, Joseph E., Graham, Emily B., Ferrenberg, Scott, Lecoeuvre, Aurelien, Labrado, Amanda, Darcy, John L., Nemergut, Diana R., & Schmidt, Steven K. Rapid Shifts in Soil Nutrients and Decomposition Enzyme Activity in Early Succession Following Forest Fire. United States. doi:10.3390/f8090347.
Knelman, Joseph E., Graham, Emily B., Ferrenberg, Scott, Lecoeuvre, Aurelien, Labrado, Amanda, Darcy, John L., Nemergut, Diana R., and Schmidt, Steven K. Fri . "Rapid Shifts in Soil Nutrients and Decomposition Enzyme Activity in Early Succession Following Forest Fire". United States. doi:10.3390/f8090347. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1393742.
@article{osti_1393742,
title = {Rapid Shifts in Soil Nutrients and Decomposition Enzyme Activity in Early Succession Following Forest Fire},
author = {Knelman, Joseph E. and Graham, Emily B. and Ferrenberg, Scott and Lecoeuvre, Aurelien and Labrado, Amanda and Darcy, John L. and Nemergut, Diana R. and Schmidt, Steven K.},
abstractNote = {In post-disturbance landscapes nutrient availability has proven a major control on ecological succession. In this study, we examined variation in connections between soil nutrient availability and decomposition extracellular enzyme activity (EEA) across post fire secondary succession in forest soils as well as after a secondary flood disturbance. We also examined possible linkages between edaphic properties and bacterial communities based on 16S rRNA gene analysis. We found that with advancing succession in a post-fire landscape, the relationship between soil nutrients and EEA became stronger over time. In general, late successional soils showed stronger connections between EEA and soil nutrient status, while early successional soils were marked by a complete decoupling of nutrients and EEA. We also found that soil moisture and bacterial communities of post-fire disturbance soils were susceptible to change following the secondary flood disturbance, while undisturbed, reference forest soils were not. Our results demonstrate that nutrient pools correlating with EEA change over time. While past work has largely focused on ecosystem succession on decadal timescales, our work suggests that nutrients shift in their relative importance as a control of decomposition EEA in the earliest stages of secondary succession. Furthermore, this work emphasizes the relevance of successional stage, even on short timescales, in predicting rates of carbon and nitrogen cycling, especially as disturbances become more frequent in a rapidly changing world.},
doi = {10.3390/f8090347},
journal = {Forests},
number = 9,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {9}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 9 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Microbial Community Succession in an Unvegetated, Recently Deglaciated Soil
journal, December 2006

  • Nemergut, Diana R.; Anderson, Suzanne P.; Cleveland, Cory C.
  • Microbial Ecology, Vol. 53, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1007/s00248-006-9144-7

A temporal approach to linking aboveground and belowground ecology
journal, November 2005


Nitrogen alters carbon dynamics during early succession in boreal forest
journal, July 2010


Soil bacterial growth and nutrient limitation along a chronosequence from a glacier forefield
journal, June 2011


Climate change impacts on fire regimes and key ecosystem services in Rocky Mountain forests
journal, September 2014


Climatic and Human Influences on fire Regimes in Ponderosa pine Forests in the Colorado Front Range
journal, August 2000


The earliest stages of ecosystem succession in high-elevation (5000 metres above sea level), recently deglaciated soils
journal, August 2008

  • Schmidt, S. K.; Reed, Sasha C.; Nemergut, Diana R.
  • Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, Vol. 275, Issue 1653
  • DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2008.0808

Organic matter inputs shift soil enzyme activity and allocation patterns in a wet tropical forest
journal, December 2012

  • Weintraub, Samantha R.; Wieder, William R.; Cleveland, Cory C.
  • Biogeochemistry, Vol. 114, Issue 1-3
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10533-012-9812-2

Soil enzymes in a changing environment: Current knowledge and future directions
journal, March 2013


Changes in Soil Fungal Communities, Extracellular Enzyme Activities, and Litter Decomposition Across a Fire Chronosequence in Alaskan Boreal Forests
journal, September 2012


Extracellular enzyme activity in the mycorrhizospheres of a boreal fire chronosequence
journal, March 2012


Decreases in average bacterial community rRNA operon copy number during succession
journal, November 2015

  • Nemergut, Diana R.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Ferrenberg, Scott
  • The ISME Journal, Vol. 10, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2015.191

Do we need to understand microbial communities to predict ecosystem function? A comparison of statistical models of nitrogen cycling processes
journal, January 2014


Microbes as Engines of Ecosystem Function: When Does Community Structure Enhance Predictions of Ecosystem Processes?
journal, February 2016

  • Graham, Emily B.; Knelman, Joseph E.; Schindlbacher, Andreas
  • Frontiers in Microbiology, Vol. 7
  • DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.00214

Bacterial community structure and function change in association with colonizer plants during early primary succession in a glacier forefield
journal, March 2012


Determination of carbon and nitrogen in samples of various soils by the dry combustion
journal, October 1997


Fire effects on belowground sustainability: a review and synthesis
journal, September 1999

  • Neary, Daniel G.; Klopatek, Carole C.; DeBano, Leonard F.
  • Forest Ecology and Management, Vol. 122, Issue 1-2
  • DOI: 10.1016/S0378-1127(99)00032-8

Changes in assembly processes in soil bacterial communities following a wildfire disturbance
journal, February 2013

  • Ferrenberg, Scott; O'Neill, Sean P.; Knelman, Joseph E.
  • The ISME Journal, Vol. 7, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1038/ismej.2013.11

Plant community and soil chemistry responses to long-term nitrogen inputs drive changes in alpine bacterial communities
journal, June 2016

  • Yuan, Xia; Knelman, Joseph E.; Gasarch, Eve
  • Ecology, Vol. 97, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1890/15-1160.1

Nutrient Addition Dramatically Accelerates Microbial Community Succession
journal, July 2014


Plant colonization of moss-dominated soils in the alpine: Microbial and biogeochemical implications
journal, August 2017


Relationships Among Fires, Fungi, and soil Dynamics in Alaskan Boreal Forests
journal, December 2004

  • Treseder, Kathleen K.; Mack, Michelle C.; Cross, Alison
  • Ecological Applications, Vol. 14, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1890/03-5133

Fire severity influences the response of soil microbes to a boreal forest fire
journal, February 2016

  • Holden, Sandra R.; Rogers, Brendan M.; Treseder, Kathleen K.
  • Environmental Research Letters, Vol. 11, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/11/3/035004

Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity at global scale: Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity
journal, September 2008


Biogeochemical drivers of microbial community convergence across actively retreating glaciers
journal, October 2016


Effects of fire on properties of forest soils: a review
journal, February 2005


Initial effects of fire and mechanical thinning on soil enzyme activity and nitrogen transformations in eight North American forest ecosystems
journal, December 2008


The diversity and biogeography of soil bacterial communities
journal, January 2006

  • Fierer, N.; Jackson, R. B.
  • Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 103, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0507535103

Soil microbial communities are shaped by plant-driven changes in resource availability during secondary succession
journal, December 2015


Warming and Earlier Spring Increase Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity
journal, August 2006


Mechanisms of Primary Succession Following Deglaciation at Glacier Bay, Alaska
journal, February 1994

  • Chapin, F. Stuart; Walker, Lawrence R.; Fastie, Christopher L.
  • Ecological Monographs, Vol. 64, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.2307/2937039

Applying population and community ecology theory to advance understanding of belowground biogeochemistry
journal, January 2017

  • Buchkowski, Robert W.; Bradford, Mark A.; Grandy, Andrew Stuart
  • Ecology Letters, Vol. 20, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1111/ele.12712

Patterns and Processes of Microbial Community Assembly
journal, September 2013

  • Nemergut, D. R.; Schmidt, S. K.; Fukami, T.
  • Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews, Vol. 77, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1128/MMBR.00051-12

Soil microbial responses to fire and interacting global change factors in a California annual grassland
journal, October 2011

  • Docherty, Kathryn M.; Balser, Teri C.; Bohannan, Brendan J. M.
  • Biogeochemistry, Vol. 109, Issue 1-3
  • DOI: 10.1007/s10533-011-9654-3

Fire effects on soil organic matter content, composition, and nutrients in boreal interior Alaska
journal, September 2005

  • Neff, J. C.; Harden, J. W.; Gleixner, G.
  • Canadian Journal of Forest Research, Vol. 35, Issue 9
  • DOI: 10.1139/x05-154

Soil organic matter composition and quality across fire severity gradients in coniferous and deciduous forests of the southern boreal region: SOM COMPOSITION AND FIRE SEVERITY
journal, June 2015

  • Miesel, Jessica R.; Hockaday, William C.; Kolka, Randall K.
  • Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, Vol. 120, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1002/2015JG002959

Changes in community assembly may shift the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem function
journal, August 2014


Carbon and nitrogen limitation of soil microbial respiration in a High Arctic successional glacier foreland near Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard
journal, January 2007


The effect of fire on microbial biomass: a meta-analysis of field studies
journal, August 2011


Plant regeneration functional groups modulate the response to fire of soil enzyme activities in a Mediterranean shrubland
journal, December 2014


Ecoenzymatic stoichiometry of microbial organic nutrient acquisition in soil and sediment
journal, December 2009

  • Sinsabaugh, Robert L.; Hill, Brian H.; Follstad Shah, Jennifer J.
  • Nature, Vol. 462, Issue 7274
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature08632

Persistent reduced ecosystem respiration after insect disturbance in high elevation forests
journal, March 2013

  • Moore, David J. P.; Trahan, Nicole A.; Wilkes, Phil
  • Ecology Letters, Vol. 16, Issue 6
  • DOI: 10.1111/ele.12097

    Works referencing / citing this record:

    Restoration potential of threatened ecosystem engineers increases with aridity: broad scale effects on soil nutrients and function
    journal, April 2019

    • Decker, Orsi; Eldridge, David J.; Gibb, Heloise
    • Ecography, Vol. 42, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1111/ecog.04259

    Restoration potential of threatened ecosystem engineers increases with aridity: broad scale effects on soil nutrients and function
    journal, April 2019

    • Decker, Orsi; Eldridge, David J.; Gibb, Heloise
    • Ecography, Vol. 42, Issue 8
    • DOI: 10.1111/ecog.04259