Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Changes in soil microbial substrate utilization in response to altered litter diversity and precipitation in a Mediterranean shrubland
Author(s): Shihan, Ammar
Hattenschwiler, Stephan
Milcu, Alexandru
Joly, Francois-Xavier
Santonja, Mathieu
Fromin, Nathalie
Contact Email:
Keywords: Climate change
Mediterranean ecosystem
Litter decomposition
Functional diversity
Soil microbial activity
Issue Date: Feb-2017
Citation: Shihan A, Hattenschwiler S, Milcu A, Joly F, Santonja M & Fromin N (2017) Changes in soil microbial substrate utilization in response to altered litter diversity and precipitation in a Mediterranean shrubland, Biology and Fertility of Soils, 53 (2), pp. 171-185.
Abstract: This study aimed at quantifying the consequences of reduced precipitation and plant diversity on soil microbial community functioning in a Mediterranean shrubland of southern France. Across a natural gradient of shrub species diversity, we established a total of 92 plots (4 × 4 m) with and without a moderate rain exclusion treatment of about 12 % of total precipitation. Shrub diversity included all possible combinations of the four dominant species (Cistus albidus, Quercus coccifera, Rosmarinus officinalis, and Ulex parviflorus). Respective leaf litter mixtures of these species combinations were exposed in all plots over 2 years. We quantified how litter species richness and the reduction in precipitation affected the soil microbial substrate utilization (measured by CO2 evolution using the MicroResp method) on soil samples collected underneath each individual litter mixture after 1 and 2 years of decomposition. Moderate precipitation reduction had a minor impact, but litter species richness and the dissimilarity in phenolic concentrations (estimated using Rao’s quadratic entropy) showed a positive effect on the diversity of substrates metabolized by the microbial communities. Moreover, litter species richness increased soil microbial activity by increasing the catabolic diversity of the soil microbial community. These effects were mostly driven by the presence of Quercus and Ulex leaf litter, which at the same time reduced microbial metabolic dominance, while the presence of Rosmarinus had opposite effects. Our data suggest that plant species loss can have stronger effects on the functioning of soil microbial communities than moderate drought, with potentially important feedbacks on biogeochemical cycling in Mediterranean shrubland ecosystems.
DOI Link:
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
2017_Shihan_et_al_Biology_Fertility_of_Soils.pdf525.76 kBAdobe PDFUnder Permanent Embargo    Request a copy

Note: If any of the files in this item are currently embargoed, you can request a copy directly from the author by clicking the padlock icon above. However, this facility is dependent on the depositor still being contactable at their original email address.

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.