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Does functional soil microbial diversity contribute to explain within-site plant beta-diversity in an alpine grassland and a dehesa meadow in Spain?

Araya, Yoseph N.; Bartelheimer, Maik; Valle, Cipriano J.; Crujeiras, Rosa M. and García-Baquero, Gonzalo (2017). Does functional soil microbial diversity contribute to explain within-site plant beta-diversity in an alpine grassland and a dehesa meadow in Spain? Journal of Vegetation Science (Accepted Manuscript Online).

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1111/jvs.12557
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Abstract

Questions: Once that the effects of hydrological and chemical soil properties have been accounted for, does soil microbial diversity contribute to explain change in plant community structure (i.e. within-site beta-diversity)? If so, at which spatial scale does microbial diversity operate?

Location: La Mina in Moscosa Farm, Salamanca, western Spain (dehesa community) and Laguna Larga in the Urbión Peaks, Soria, central-northern Spain (alpine grassland).

Methods: The abundance of vascular plant species, soil gram-negative microbial functional types and soil chemical properties (pH, available phosphorus, and extractable cations) were sampled at both sites, for which hydrological models were available. Redundancy analysis (RDA) was used to partition variation in plant community structure into hydrological, chemical and microbial components. Spatial filters, arranged in scalograms, were used to test for the spatial scales at which plant community structure change.

Results: In the case of the dehesa the diversity of soil gram-negative microbes, weakly driven by soil pH, contributed to a small extent (adj-R2 = 2%) and at a relative medium spatial scale to explain change in plant community structure. The abundance of a few dehesa species, both annual (Trifolium dubium, Vulpia bromoides) and perennial (Poa bulbosa, Festuca ampla), was associated with either increasing or decreasing soil microbial diversity. In the alpine meadow the contribution was negligible.

Conclusions: Microbial diversity can drive community structure, though in the hierarchy of environmental factors structuring communities it appears to rank lower than other soil factors. Still, microbial diversity appears to promote or restrain individual plant species. This paper aims to encourage future studies to use more comprehensive and insightful techniques to assess microbial diversity and to combine this with statistical approaches such as the one used here.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 The Authors
ISSN: 1654-1103
Keywords: community structure; grassland; Iberian Peninsula; MEM; Moran’s Eigenvector Maps; spatial variables; RDA; redundancy analysis; scalogram; soil properties
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 48707
Depositing User: Yoseph Araya
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 13:56
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2017 15:07
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/48707
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