Adaptation of soil micro-food web to elemental limitation: evidence from the forest-steppe ecotone - INRAE - Institut national de recherche pour l’agriculture, l’alimentation et l’environnement Access content directly
Journal Articles Soil Biology and Biochemistry Year : 2022

Adaptation of soil micro-food web to elemental limitation: evidence from the forest-steppe ecotone

Abstract

Stoichiometric imbalance between resources and their decomposers can alter the activity and structure of soil microbial communities and play an important role in regulating nutrient and carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. However, whether and how ecological networks of soil micro-food web change to cope with the stoichiometric imbalance has never been assessed so far. In this study, we tested how the soil micro-food web responded to elemental limitations along a forest-steppe ecotone. We measured several adaptation mechanisms including soil microbial stoichiometry, enzyme activities and the composition of soil microbial and nematode communities. The microbial investment in resource acquisition shifted from nutrient-to C-acquiring enzymes with decreasing soil C:N:P ratios along the forest-steppe ecotone. The shifts in element use efficiencies could be a compensatory way besides enzyme allocation, implemented by microbial communities to cope with stoichiometric imbalance in their substrates. The community structure of soil micro-food web also changed with a decrease in saprotrophic fungi and fungivorous nematodes from the steppe plots towards the forest plots. The cooccurrence networks were less complex and stable with decreasing soil C:N:P ratios, suggesting that trophic interactions were less diverse and C-limitation plays an important role in structuring ecological interactions in soil food webs. Our findings provide insights into how stoichiometric constraints may induce shifts in ecological networks and have important implications for integrating shifts in individual physiological metabolism as well as changes in community composition of soil biota and to better understand and predict soil biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial ecosystems.
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Dates and versions

hal-03750308 , version 1 (12-08-2022)

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Bing Li, Yingbin Li, Nicolas Fanin, Xu Han, Xiaofang Du, et al.. Adaptation of soil micro-food web to elemental limitation: evidence from the forest-steppe ecotone. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 2022, 170, ⟨10.1016/j.soilbio.2022.108698⟩. ⟨hal-03750308⟩
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