Publications by authors named "Henk Duyts"

7 Publications

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Single introductions of soil biota and plants generate long-term legacies in soil and plant community assembly.

Ecol Lett 2019 Jul 24;22(7):1145-1151. Epub 2019 Apr 24.

Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Terrestrial Ecology, P.O. Box 50, 6700 AB, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Recent demonstrations of the role of plant-soil biota interactions have challenged the conventional view that vegetation changes are mainly driven by changing abiotic conditions. However, while this concept has been validated under natural conditions, our understanding of the long-term consequences of plant-soil interactions for above-belowground community assembly is restricted to mathematical and conceptual model projections. Here, we demonstrate experimentally that one-time additions of soil biota and plant seeds alter soil-borne nematode and plant community composition in semi-natural grassland for 20 years. Over time, aboveground and belowground community composition became increasingly correlated, suggesting an increasing connectedness of soil biota and plants. We conclude that the initial composition of not only plant communities, but also soil communities has a long-lasting impact on the trajectory of community assembly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13271DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6850328PMC
July 2019

Soil networks become more connected and take up more carbon as nature restoration progresses.

Nat Commun 2017 02 8;8:14349. Epub 2017 Feb 8.

NIOO-KNAW, Microbial Ecology, Droevendaalsesteeg 10, Wageningen 6708 PB, The Netherlands.

Soil organisms have an important role in aboveground community dynamics and ecosystem functioning in terrestrial ecosystems. However, most studies have considered soil biota as a black box or focussed on specific groups, whereas little is known about entire soil networks. Here we show that during the course of nature restoration on abandoned arable land a compositional shift in soil biota, preceded by tightening of the belowground networks, corresponds with enhanced efficiency of carbon uptake. In mid- and long-term abandoned field soil, carbon uptake by fungi increases without an increase in fungal biomass or shift in bacterial-to-fungal ratio. The implication of our findings is that during nature restoration the efficiency of nutrient cycling and carbon uptake can increase by a shift in fungal composition and/or fungal activity. Therefore, we propose that relationships between soil food web structure and carbon cycling in soils need to be reconsidered.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms14349DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5309817PMC
February 2017

Aboveground vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore impact on net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands.

Ecology 2015 Dec;96(12):3312-22

Aboveground herbivores have strong effects on grassland nitrogen (N) cycling. They can accelerate or slow down soil net N mineralization depending on ecosystem productivity and grazing intensity. Yet, most studies only consider either ungulates or invertebrate herbivores, but not the combined effect of several functionally different vertebrate and invertebrate herbivore species or guilds. We assessed how a diverse herbivore community affects net N mineralization in subalpine grasslands. By using size-selective fences, we progressively excluded large, medium, and small mammals, as well as invertebrates from two vegetation types, and assessed how the exclosure types (ET) affected net N mineralization. The two vegetation types differed in long-term management (centuries), forage quality, and grazing history and intensity. To gain a more mechanistic understanding of how herbivores affect net N mineralization, we linked mineralization to soil abiotic (temperature; moisture; NO3-, NH4+, and total inorganic N concentrations/pools; C, N, P concentrations; pH; bulk density), soil biotic (microbial biomass; abundance of collembolans, mites, and nematodes) and plant (shoot and root biomass; consumption; plant C, N, and fiber content; plant N pool) properties. Net N mineralization differed between ET, but not between vegetation types. Thus, short-term changes in herbivore community composition and, therefore, in grazing intensity had a stronger effect on net N mineralization than long-term management and grazing history. We found highest N mineralization values when only invertebrates were present, suggesting that mammals had a negative effect on net N mineralization. Of the variables included in our analyses, only mite abundance and aboveground plant biomass explained variation in net N mineralization among ET. Abundances of both mites and leaf-sucking invertebrates were positively correlated with aboveground plant biomass, and biomass increased with progressive exclusion. The negative impact of mammals on net N mineralization may be related partially to (1) differences in the amount of plant material (litter) returned to the belowground subsystem, which induced a positive bottom-up effect on mite abundance, and (2) alterations in the amount and/or distribution of dung, urine, and food waste. Thus, our results clearly show that short-term alterations of the aboveground herbivore community can strongly impact nutrient cycling within ecosystems independent of long-term management and grazing history.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/15-0300.1DOI Listing
December 2015

Plant diversity and identity effects on predatory nematodes and their prey.

Ecol Evol 2015 Feb 23;5(4):836-47. Epub 2015 Jan 23.

Department of Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) PO Box 50, Wageningen, 6700 AB, The Netherlands.

There is considerable evidence that both plant diversity and plant identity can influence the level of predation and predator abundance aboveground. However, how the level of predation in the soil and the abundance of predatory soil fauna are related to plant diversity and identity remains largely unknown. In a biodiversity field experiment, we examined the effects of plant diversity and identity on the infectivity of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs, Heterorhabditis and Steinernema spp.), which prey on soil arthropods, and abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs, which are predators of other nematode groups. To obtain a comprehensive view of the potential prey/food availability, we also quantified the abundance of soil insects and nonpredatory nematodes and the root biomass in the experimental plots. We used structural equation modeling (SEM) to investigate possible pathways by which plant diversity and identity may affect EPN infectivity and the abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs. Heterorhabditis spp. infectivity and the abundance of carnivorous non-EPNs were not directly related to plant diversity or the proportion of legumes, grasses and forbs in the plant community. However, Steinernema spp. infectivity was higher in monocultures of Festuca rubra and Trifolium pratense than in monocultures of the other six plant species. SEM revealed that legumes positively affected Steinernema infectivity, whereas plant diversity indirectly affected the infectivity of HeterorhabditisEPNs via effects on the abundance of soil insects. The abundance of prey (soil insects and root-feeding, bacterivorous, and fungivorous nematodes) increased with higher plant diversity. The abundance of prey nematodes was also positively affected by legumes. These plant community effects could not be explained by changes in root biomass. Our results show that plant diversity and identity effects on belowground biota (particularly soil nematode community) can differ between organisms that belong to the same feeding guild and that generalizations about plant diversity effects on soil organisms should be made with great caution.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ece3.1337DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4338967PMC
February 2015

Shifting carbon flow from roots into associated microbial communities in response to elevated atmospheric CO2.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2010 Jun 1;107(24):10938-42. Epub 2010 Jun 1.

Department of Microbial Ecology, The Netherlands Institute of Ecology NIOO-KNAW, 6666 ZG Heteren, The Netherlands.

Rising atmospheric CO(2) levels are predicted to have major consequences on carbon cycling and the functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. Increased photosynthetic activity is expected, especially for C-3 plants, thereby influencing vegetation dynamics; however, little is known about the path of fixed carbon into soil-borne communities and resulting feedbacks on ecosystem function. Here, we examine how arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) act as a major conduit in the transfer of carbon between plants and soil and how elevated atmospheric CO(2) modulates the belowground translocation pathway of plant-fixed carbon. Shifts in active AMF species under elevated atmospheric CO(2) conditions are coupled to changes within active rhizosphere bacterial and fungal communities. Thus, as opposed to simply increasing the activity of soil-borne microbes through enhanced rhizodeposition, elevated atmospheric CO(2) clearly evokes the emergence of distinct opportunistic plant-associated microbial communities. Analyses involving RNA-based stable isotope probing, neutral/phosphate lipid fatty acids stable isotope probing, community fingerprinting, and real-time PCR allowed us to trace plant-fixed carbon to the affected soil-borne microorganisms. Based on our data, we present a conceptual model in which plant-assimilated carbon is rapidly transferred to AMF, followed by a slower release from AMF to the bacterial and fungal populations well-adapted to the prevailing (myco-)rhizosphere conditions. This model provides a general framework for reappraising carbon-flow paths in soils, facilitating predictions of future interactions between rising atmospheric CO(2) concentrations and terrestrial ecosystems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0912421107DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2890735PMC
June 2010

Vertebrate herbivores influence soil nematodes by modifying plant communities.

Ecology 2010 Mar;91(3):828-35

Community and Conservation Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, P.O. Box 14, Haren 9750 AA, The Netherlands.

Abiotic soil properties, plant community composition, and herbivory all have been reported as important factors influencing the composition of soil communities. However, most studies thus far have considered these factors in isolation, whereas they strongly interact in the field. Here, we study how grazing by vertebrate herbivores influences the soil nematode community composition of a floodplain grassland while we account for effects of grazing on plant community composition and abiotic soil properties. Nematodes are the most ubiquitous invertebrates in the soil. They include a variety of feeding types, ranging from microbial feeders to herbivores and carnivores, and they perform key functions in soil food webs. Our hypothesis was that grazing affects nematode community structure and composition through altering plant community structure and composition. Alternatively, we tested whether the effects of grazing may, directly or indirectly, run via changes in soil abiotic properties. We used a long-term field experiment containing plots with and without vertebrate grazers (cattle and rabbits). We compared plant and nematode community structure and composition, as well as a number of key soil abiotic properties, and we applied structural equation modeling to investigate four possible pathways by which grazing may change nematode community composition. Aboveground grazing increased plant species richness and reduced both plant and nematode community heterogeneity. There was a positive relationship between plant and nematode diversity indices. Grazing decreased the number of bacterial-feeding nematodes, indicating that in these grasslands, top-down control of plant production by grazing leads to bottom-up control in the basal part of the bacterial channel of the soil food web. According to the structural equation model, grazing had a strong effect on soil abiotic properties and plant community composition, whereas plant community composition was the main determinant of nematode community composition. Other pathways, which assumed that grazing influenced nematode community composition by inducing changes in soil abiotic properties, did not significantly explain variation in nematode community composition. We conclude that grazing-induced changes in nematode community composition mainly operated via changes in plant community composition. Influences of vertebrate grazers on soil nematodes through modification of abiotic soil properties were of less importance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/09-0134.1DOI Listing
March 2010

Soil microorganisms control plant ectoparasitic nematodes in natural coastal foredunes.

Oecologia 2007 Jun 8;152(3):505-14. Epub 2007 Mar 8.

Department of Multitrophic Interactions, Centre for Terrestrial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology, Boterhoeksestraat 48, P.O. Box 40, 6666 ZG Heteren, The Netherlands.

Belowground herbivores can exert important controls on the composition of natural plant communities. Until now, relatively few studies have investigated which factors may control the abundance of belowground herbivores. In Dutch coastal foredunes, the root-feeding nematode Tylenchorhynchus ventralis is capable of reducing the performance of the dominant grass Ammophila arenaria (Marram grass). However, field surveys show that populations of this nematode usually are controlled to nondamaging densities, but the control mechanism is unknown. In the present study, we first established that T. ventralis populations are top-down controlled by soil biota. Then, selective removal of soil fauna suggested that soil microorganisms play an important role in controlling T. ventralis. This result was confirmed by an experiment where selective inoculation of microarthropods, nematodes and microbes together with T. ventralis into sterilized dune soil resulted in nematode control when microbes were present. Adding nematodes had some effect, whereas microarthropods did not have a significant effect on T. ventralis. Our results have important implications for the appreciation of herbivore controls in natural soils. Soil food web models assume that herbivorous nematodes are controlled by predaceous invertebrates, whereas many biological control studies focus on managing nematode abundance by soil microorganisms. We propose that soil microorganisms play a more important role than do carnivorous soil invertebrates in the top-down control of herbivorous ectoparasitic nematodes in natural ecosystems. This is opposite to many studies on factors controlling root-feeding insects, which are supposed to be controlled by carnivorous invertebrates, parasitoids, or entomopathogenic nematodes. Our conclusion is that the ectoparasitic nematode T. ventralis is potentially able to limit productivity of the dune grass A. arenaria but that soil organisms, mostly microorganisms, usually prevent the development of growth-reducing population densities.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-007-0678-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1915600PMC
June 2007