Publications by authors named "Martina Stursová"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Gene family expansions and transcriptome signatures uncover fungal adaptations to wood decay.

Environ Microbiol 2021 Feb 4. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, 94720, USA.

Because they comprise some of the most efficient wood-decayers, Polyporales fungi impact carbon cycling in forest environment. Despite continuous discoveries on the enzymatic machinery involved in wood decomposition, the vision on their evolutionary adaptation to wood decay and genome diversity remains incomplete. We combined the genome sequence information from 50 Polyporales species, including 26 newly sequenced genomes and sought for genomic and functional adaptations to wood decay through the analysis of genome composition and transcriptome responses to different carbon sources. The genomes of Polyporales from different phylogenetic clades showed poor conservation in macrosynteny, indicative of genome rearrangements. We observed different gene family expansion/contraction histories for plant cell wall degrading enzymes in core polyporoids and phlebioids and captured expansions for genes involved in signalling and regulation in the lineages of white rotters. Furthermore, we identified conserved cupredoxins, thaumatin-like proteins and lytic polysaccharide monooxygenases with a yet uncharacterized appended module as new candidate players in wood decomposition. Given the current need for enzymatic toolkits dedicated to the transformation of renewable carbon sources, the observed genomic diversity among Polyporales strengthens the relevance of mining Polyporales biodiversity to understand the molecular mechanisms of wood decay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.15423DOI Listing
February 2021

Large-scale genome sequencing of mycorrhizal fungi provides insights into the early evolution of symbiotic traits.

Nat Commun 2020 10 12;11(1):5125. Epub 2020 Oct 12.

US Department of Energy Joint Genome Institute, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, USA.

Mycorrhizal fungi are mutualists that play crucial roles in nutrient acquisition in terrestrial ecosystems. Mycorrhizal symbioses arose repeatedly across multiple lineages of Mucoromycotina, Ascomycota, and Basidiomycota. Considerable variation exists in the capacity of mycorrhizal fungi to acquire carbon from soil organic matter. Here, we present a combined analysis of 135 fungal genomes from 73 saprotrophic, endophytic and pathogenic species, and 62 mycorrhizal species, including 29 new mycorrhizal genomes. This study samples ecologically dominant fungal guilds for which there were previously no symbiotic genomes available, including ectomycorrhizal Russulales, Thelephorales and Cantharellales. Our analyses show that transitions from saprotrophy to symbiosis involve (1) widespread losses of degrading enzymes acting on lignin and cellulose, (2) co-option of genes present in saprotrophic ancestors to fulfill new symbiotic functions, (3) diversification of novel, lineage-specific symbiosis-induced genes, (4) proliferation of transposable elements and (5) divergent genetic innovations underlying the convergent origins of the ectomycorrhizal guild.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18795-wDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7550596PMC
October 2020

Production of Fungal Mycelia in a Temperate Coniferous Forest Shows Distinct Seasonal Patterns.

J Fungi (Basel) 2020 Sep 26;6(4). Epub 2020 Sep 26.

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Vídeňská 1083, 14220 Prague, Czech Republic.

In temperate forests, climate seasonality restricts the photosynthetic activity of primary producers to the warm season from spring to autumn, while the cold season with temperatures below the freezing point represents a period of strongly reduced plant activity. Although soil microorganisms are active all-year-round, their expressions show seasonal patterns. This is especially visible on the ectomycorrhizal fungi, the most abundant guild of fungi in coniferous forests. We quantified the production of fungal mycelia using ingrowth sandbags in the organic layer of soil in temperate coniferous forest and analysed the composition of fungal communities in four consecutive seasons. We show that fungal biomass production is as low as 0.029 µg g of sand in December-March, while it reaches 0.122 µg g in June-September. The majority of fungi show distinct patterns of seasonal mycelial production, with most ectomycorrhizal fungi colonising ingrowth bags in the spring or summer, while the autumn and winter colonisation was mostly due to moulds. Our results indicate that fungal taxa differ in their seasonal patterns of mycelial production. Although fungal biomass turnover appears all-year-round, its rates are much faster in the period of plant activity than in the cold season.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jof6040190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7712845PMC
September 2020

GlobalFungi, a global database of fungal occurrences from high-throughput-sequencing metabarcoding studies.

Sci Data 2020 07 13;7(1):228. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Vídeňská 1083, 14220, Praha 4, Czech Republic.

Fungi are key players in vital ecosystem services, spanning carbon cycling, decomposition, symbiotic associations with cultivated and wild plants and pathogenicity. The high importance of fungi in ecosystem processes contrasts with the incompleteness of our understanding of the patterns of fungal biogeography and the environmental factors that drive those patterns. To reduce this gap of knowledge, we collected and validated data published on the composition of soil fungal communities in terrestrial environments including soil and plant-associated habitats and made them publicly accessible through a user interface at https://globalfungi.com . The GlobalFungi database contains over 600 million observations of fungal sequences across > 17 000 samples with geographical locations and additional metadata contained in 178 original studies with millions of unique nucleotide sequences (sequence variants) of the fungal internal transcribed spacers (ITS) 1 and 2 representing fungal species and genera. The study represents the most comprehensive atlas of global fungal distribution, and it is framed in such a way that third-party data addition is possible.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41597-020-0567-7DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7359306PMC
July 2020

A meta-analysis of global fungal distribution reveals climate-driven patterns.

Nat Commun 2019 11 13;10(1):5142. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, Vídeňská 1083, 14220, Praha 4, Czech Republic.

The evolutionary and environmental factors that shape fungal biogeography are incompletely understood. Here, we assemble a large dataset consisting of previously generated mycobiome data linked to specific geographical locations across the world. We use this dataset to describe the distribution of fungal taxa and to look for correlations with different environmental factors such as climate, soil and vegetation variables. Our meta-study identifies climate as an important driver of different aspects of fungal biogeography, including the global distribution of common fungi as well as the composition and diversity of fungal communities. In our analysis, fungal diversity is concentrated at high latitudes, in contrast with the opposite pattern previously shown for plants and other organisms. Mycorrhizal fungi appear to have narrower climatic tolerances than pathogenic fungi. We speculate that climate change could affect ecosystem functioning because of the narrow climatic tolerances of key fungal taxa.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-13164-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6853883PMC
November 2019

Cellulase-Hemicellulase Activities and Bacterial Community Composition of Different Soils from Algerian Ecosystems.

Microb Ecol 2019 Apr 12;77(3):713-725. Epub 2018 Sep 12.

Laboratorio de Ecología Microbiana Aplicada, Departmento de Ciencias Químicas y Recursos Naturales, Universidad de La Frontera, Ave. Franciosco Salazar, 01145, Temuco, Chile.

Soil microorganisms are important mediators of carbon cycling in nature. Although cellulose- and hemicellulose-degrading bacteria have been isolated from Algerian ecosystems, the information on the composition of soil bacterial communities and thus the potential of their members to decompose plant residues is still limited. The objective of the present study was to describe and compare the bacterial community composition in Algerian soils (crop, forest, garden, and desert) and the activity of cellulose- and hemicellulose-degrading enzymes. Bacterial communities were characterized by high-throughput 16S amplicon sequencing followed by the in silico prediction of their functional potential. The highest lignocellulolytic activity was recorded in forest and garden soils whereas activities in the agricultural and desert soils were typically low. The bacterial phyla Proteobacteria (in particular classes α-proteobacteria, δ-proteobacteria, and γ-proteobacteria), Firmicutes, and Actinobacteria dominated in all soils. Forest and garden soils exhibited higher diversity than agricultural and desert soils. Endocellulase activity was elevated in forest and garden soils. In silico analysis predicted higher share of genes assigned to general metabolism in forest and garden soils compared with agricultural and arid soils, particularly in carbohydrate metabolism. The highest potential of lignocellulose decomposition was predicted for forest soils, which is in agreement with the highest activity of corresponding enzymes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00248-018-1251-8DOI Listing
April 2019

Decomposer food web in a deciduous forest shows high share of generalist microorganisms and importance of microbial biomass recycling.

ISME J 2018 06 28;12(7):1768-1778. Epub 2018 Feb 28.

Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, Průmyslová 595, 252 50, Vestec, Czech Republic.

Forest soils represent important terrestrial carbon (C) pools where C is primarily fixed in the plant-derived biomass but it flows further through the biomass of fungi and bacteria before it is lost from the ecosystem as CO or immobilized in recalcitrant organic matter. Microorganisms are the main drivers of C flow in forests and play critical roles in the C balance through the decomposition of dead biomass of different origins. Here, we track the path of C that enters forest soil by following respiration, microbial biomass production, and C accumulation by individual microbial taxa in soil microcosms upon the addition of C-labeled biomass of plant, fungal, and bacterial origin. We demonstrate that both fungi and bacteria are involved in the assimilation and mineralization of C from the major complex sources existing in soil. Decomposer fungi are, however, better suited to utilize plant biomass compounds, whereas the ability to utilize fungal and bacterial biomass is more frequent among bacteria. Due to the ability of microorganisms to recycle microbial biomass, we suggest that the decomposer food web in forest soil displays a network structure with loops between and within individual pools. These results question the present paradigms describing food webs as hierarchical structures with unidirectional flow of C and assumptions about the dominance of fungi in the decomposition of complex organic matter.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41396-018-0084-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6018761PMC
June 2018

Clearcutting alters decomposition processes and initiates complex restructuring of fungal communities in soil and tree roots.

ISME J 2018 03 15;12(3):692-703. Epub 2018 Jan 15.

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, Vídeňská 1083, 142 20, Praha 4, Czech Republic.

Forest management practices often severely affect forest ecosystem functioning. Tree removal by clearcutting is one such practice, producing severe impacts due to the total reduction of primary productivity. Here, we assessed changes to fungal community structure and decomposition activity in the soil, roots and rhizosphere of a Picea abies stand for a 2-year period following clearcutting compared to data from before tree harvest. We found that the termination of photosynthate flow through tree roots into soil is associated with profound changes in soil, both in decomposition processes and fungal community composition. The rhizosphere, representing an active compartment of high enzyme activity and high fungal biomass in the living stand, ceases to exist and starts to resemble bulk soil. Decomposing roots appear to separate from bulk soil and develop into hotspots of decomposition and important fungal biomass pools. We found no support for the involvement of ectomycorrhizal fungi in the decomposition of roots, but we found some evidence that root endophytic fungi may have an important role in the early stages of this process. In soil, activity of extracellular enzymes also decreased in the long term following the end of rhizodeposition by tree roots.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41396-017-0027-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5864242PMC
March 2018

Small-scale spatial heterogeneity of ecosystem properties, microbial community composition and microbial activities in a temperate mountain forest soil.

FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2016 12 7;92(12). Epub 2016 Sep 7.

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, Vídeňská 1083, 14220 Praha 4, Czech Republic.

Forests are recognised as spatially heterogeneous ecosystems. However, knowledge of the small-scale spatial variation in microbial abundance, community composition and activity is limited. Here, we aimed to describe the heterogeneity of environmental properties, namely vegetation, soil chemical composition, fungal and bacterial abundance and community composition, and enzymatic activity, in the topsoil in a small area (36 m) of a highly heterogeneous regenerating temperate natural forest, and to explore the relationships among these variables. The results demonstrated a high level of spatial heterogeneity in all properties and revealed differences between litter and soil. Fungal communities had substantially higher beta-diversity than bacterial communities, which were more uniform and less spatially autocorrelated. In litter, fungal communities were affected by vegetation and appeared to be more involved in decomposition. In the soil, chemical composition affected both microbial abundance and the rates of decomposition, whereas the effect of vegetation was small. Importantly, decomposition appeared to be concentrated in hotspots with increased activity of multiple enzymes. Overall, forest topsoil should be considered a spatially heterogeneous environment in which the mean estimates of ecosystem-level processes and microbial community composition may confound the existence of highly specific microenvironments.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiw185DOI Listing
December 2016

Fungal Communities in Soils: Soil Organic Matter Degradation.

Methods Mol Biol 2016 ;1399:89-100

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the CAS, Vídeňská 1083, 14220, Praha 4, Czech Republic.

Stable isotope probing (SIP) provides the opportunity to label decomposer microorganisms that build their biomass on a specific substrate. In combination with high-throughput sequencing, SIP allows for the identification of fungal community members involved in a particular decomposition process. Further information can be gained through gene-targeted metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, opening the possibility to describe the pool of genes catalyzing specific decomposition reactions in situ and to identify the diversity of genes that are expressed. When combined with gene descriptions of fungal isolates from the same environment, specific biochemical reactions involved in decomposition can be linked to individual fungal taxa. Here we describe the use of these methods to explore the cellulolytic fungal community in forest litter and soil.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-3369-3_5DOI Listing
October 2016

When the forest dies: the response of forest soil fungi to a bark beetle-induced tree dieback.

ISME J 2014 Sep 27;8(9):1920-31. Epub 2014 Mar 27.

Institute of Microbiology of the ASCR, v.v.i., Vídeňská 1083, Praha 4, Czech Republic.

Coniferous forests cover extensive areas of the boreal and temperate zones. Owing to their primary production and C storage, they have an important role in the global carbon balance. Forest disturbances such as forest fires, windthrows or insect pest outbreaks have a substantial effect on the functioning of these ecosystems. Recent decades have seen an increase in the areas affected by disturbances in both North America and Europe, with indications that this increase is due to both local human activity and global climate change. Here we examine the structural and functional response of the litter and soil microbial community in a Picea abies forest to tree dieback following an invasion of the bark beetle Ips typographus, with a specific focus on the fungal community. The insect-induced disturbance rapidly and profoundly changed vegetation and nutrient availability by killing spruce trees so that the readily available root exudates were replaced by more recalcitrant, polymeric plant biomass components. Owing to the dramatic decrease in photosynthesis, the rate of decomposition processes in the ecosystem decreased as soon as the one-time litter input had been processed. The fungal community showed profound changes, including a decrease in biomass (2.5-fold in the litter and 12-fold in the soil) together with the disappearance of fungi symbiotic with tree roots and a relative increase in saprotrophic taxa. Within the latter group, successive changes reflected the changing availability of needle litter and woody debris. Bacterial biomass appeared to be either unaffected or increased after the disturbance, resulting in a substantial increase in the bacterial/fungal biomass ratio.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2014.37DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4139728PMC
September 2014

Cellulose utilization in forest litter and soil: identification of bacterial and fungal decomposers.

FEMS Microbiol Ecol 2012 Jun 27;80(3):735-46. Epub 2012 Mar 27.

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology ASCR, Prague, Czech Republic.

Organic matter decomposition in the globally widespread coniferous forests has an important role in the carbon cycle, and cellulose decomposition is especially important in this respect because cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in plant litter. Cellulose decomposition was 10 times faster in the fungi-dominated litter of Picea abies forest than in the bacteria-dominated soil. In the soil, the added (13)C-labelled cellulose was the main source of microbial respiration and was preferentially accumulated in the fungal biomass and cellulose induced fungal proliferation. In contrast, in the litter, bacterial biomass showed higher labelling after (13)C-cellulose addition and bacterial biomass increased. While 80% of the total community was represented by 104-106 bacterial and 33-59 fungal operational taxonomic units (OTUs), 80% of the cellulolytic communities of bacteria and fungi were only composed of 8-18 highly abundant OTUs. Both the total and (13)C-labelled communities differed substantially between the litter and soil. Cellulolytic bacteria in the acidic topsoil included Betaproteobacteria, Bacteroidetes and Acidobacteria, whereas these typically found in neutral soils were absent. Most fungal cellulose decomposers belonged to Ascomycota; cellulolytic Basidiomycota were mainly represented by the yeasts Trichosporon and Cryptococcus. Several bacteria and fungi demonstrated here to derive their carbon from cellulose were previously not recognized as cellulolytic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6941.2012.01343.xDOI Listing
June 2012

Active and total microbial communities in forest soil are largely different and highly stratified during decomposition.

ISME J 2012 Feb 21;6(2):248-58. Epub 2011 Jul 21.

Laboratory of Environmental Microbiology, Institute of Microbiology of the ASCR, v.v.i., Vídeňská, Praha, Czech Republic.

Soils of coniferous forest ecosystems are important for the global carbon cycle, and the identification of active microbial decomposers is essential for understanding organic matter transformation in these ecosystems. By the independent analysis of DNA and RNA, whole communities of bacteria and fungi and its active members were compared in topsoil of a Picea abies forest during a period of organic matter decomposition. Fungi quantitatively dominate the microbial community in the litter horizon, while the organic horizon shows comparable amount of fungal and bacterial biomasses. Active microbial populations obtained by RNA analysis exhibit similar diversity as DNA-derived populations, but significantly differ in the composition of microbial taxa. Several highly active taxa, especially fungal ones, show low abundance or even absence in the DNA pool. Bacteria and especially fungi are often distinctly associated with a particular soil horizon. Fungal communities are less even than bacterial ones and show higher relative abundances of dominant species. While dominant bacterial species are distributed across the studied ecosystem, distribution of dominant fungi is often spatially restricted as they are only recovered at some locations. The sequences of cbhI gene encoding for cellobiohydrolase (exocellulase), an essential enzyme for cellulose decomposition, were compared in soil metagenome and metatranscriptome and assigned to their producers. Litter horizon exhibits higher diversity and higher proportion of expressed sequences than organic horizon. Cellulose decomposition is mediated by highly diverse fungal populations largely distinct between soil horizons. The results indicate that low-abundance species make an important contribution to decomposition processes in soils.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ismej.2011.95DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3260513PMC
February 2012

Decomposition of leaf litter from a native tree and an actinorhizal invasive across riparian habitats.

Ecol Appl 2009 Jul;19(5):1135-46

Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131, USA.

Dynamics of nutrient exchange between floodplains and rivers have been altered by changes in flow management and proliferation of nonnative plants. We tested the hypothesis that the nonnative, actinorhizal tree, Russian olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia), alters dynamics of leaf litter decomposition compared to native cottonwood (Populus deltoides ssp. wislizeni) along the Rio Grande, a river with a modified flow regime, in central New Mexico (U.S.A.). Leaf litter was placed in the river channel and the surface and subsurface horizons of forest soil at seven riparian sites that differed in their hydrologic connection to the river. All sites had a cottonwood canopy with a Russian olive-dominated understory. Mass loss rates, nutrient content, fungal biomass, extracellular enzyme activities (EEA), and macroinvertebrate colonization were followed for three months in the river and one year in forests. Initial nitrogen (N) content of Russian olive litter (2.2%) was more than four times that of cottonwood (0.5%). Mass loss rates (k; in units of d(-1)) were greatest in the river (Russian olive, k = 0.0249; cottonwood, k = 0.0226), intermediate in subsurface soil (Russian olive, k = 0.0072; cottonwood, k = 0.0031), and slowest on the soil surface (Russian olive, k = 0.0034; cottonwood, k = 0.0012) in a ratio of about 10:2:1. Rates of mass loss in the river were indistinguishable between species and proportional to macroinvertebrate colonization. In the riparian forest, Russian olive decayed significantly faster than cottonwood in both soil horizons. Terrestrial decomposition rates were related positively to EEA, fungal biomass, and litter N, whereas differences among floodplain sites were related to hydrologic connectivity with the river. Because nutrient exchanges between riparian forests and the river have been constrained by flow management, Russian olive litter represents a significant annual input of N to riparian forests, which now retain a large portion of slowly decomposing cottonwood litter with a high potential for N immobilization. As a result, retention and mineralization of litter N within these forests is controlled by hydrologic connectivity to the river, which affects litter export and in situ decomposition.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/08-0294.1DOI Listing
July 2009

Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity at global scale.

Ecol Lett 2008 Nov 25;11(11):1252-1264. Epub 2008 Sep 25.

Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, 87131, USADepartment of Environmental Sciences, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH 43606-3390, USASchool of Life Sciences, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85281, USADepartments of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USADepartment of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USADepartment of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USADepartment of Biology and the Environmental Science Program, Carthage College, 2001 Alford Park Drive, Kenosha, WI 53140, USADepartment of Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, University of Minnesota, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, St Paul, MN 55108, USADepartment of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USADepartments of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior, Plant Biology and Soil, Water & Climate, University of Minnesota, 1987 Upper Buford Circle, St Paul, MN 55108, USAUnited States Geological Survey, 345 Middlefield Rd, MS 962, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USANatural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University, Campus Delivery 1499, Fort Collins, CO 80523-1499, USASchool of Natural Resources, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1115, USA.

Extracellular enzymes are the proximate agents of organic matter decomposition and measures of these activities can be used as indicators of microbial nutrient demand. We conducted a global-scale meta-analysis of the seven-most widely measured soil enzyme activities, using data from 40 ecosystems. The activities of beta-1,4-glucosidase, cellobiohydrolase, beta-1,4-N-acetylglucosaminidase and phosphatase g(-1) soil increased with organic matter concentration; leucine aminopeptidase, phenol oxidase and peroxidase activities showed no relationship. All activities were significantly related to soil pH. Specific activities, i.e. activity g(-1) soil organic matter, also varied in relation to soil pH for all enzymes. Relationships with mean annual temperature (MAT) and precipitation (MAP) were generally weak. For hydrolases, ratios of specific C, N and P acquisition activities converged on 1 : 1 : 1 but across ecosystems, the ratio of C : P acquisition was inversely related to MAP and MAT while the ratio of C : N acquisition increased with MAP. Oxidative activities were more variable than hydrolytic activities and increased with soil pH. Our analyses indicate that the enzymatic potential for hydrolyzing the labile components of soil organic matter is tied to substrate availability, soil pH and the stoichiometry of microbial nutrient demand. The enzymatic potential for oxidizing the recalcitrant fractions of soil organic material, which is a proximate control on soil organic matter accumulation, is most strongly related to soil pH. These trends provide insight into the biogeochemical processes that create global patterns in ecological stoichiometry and organic matter storage.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2008.01245.xDOI Listing
November 2008

Microbial responses to nitrogen addition in three contrasting grassland ecosystems.

Oecologia 2007 Nov 28;154(2):349-59. Epub 2007 Aug 28.

Department of Biology, MSC03 2020, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

The effects of global N enrichment on soil processes in grassland ecosystems have received relatively little study. We assessed microbial community response to experimental increases in N availability by measuring extracellular enzyme activity (EEA) in soils from three grasslands with contrasting edaphic and climatic characteristics: a semiarid grassland at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico, USA (SEV), and mesic grasslands at Konza Prairie, Kansas, USA (KNZ) and Ukulinga Research Farm, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa (SAF). We hypothesized that, with N enrichment, soil microbial communities would increase C and P acquisition activity, decrease N acquisition activity, and reduce oxidative enzyme production (leading to recalcitrant soil organic matter [SOM] accumulation), and that the magnitude of response would decrease with soil age (due to higher stabilization of enzyme pools and P limitation of response). Cellulolytic activities followed the pattern predicted, increasing 35-52% in the youngest soil (SEV), 10-14% in the intermediate soil (KNZ) and remaining constant in the oldest soil (SAF). The magnitude of phosphatase response did not vary among sites. N acquisition activity response was driven by the enzyme closest to its pH optimum in each soil: i.e., leucine aminopeptidase in alkaline soil, beta-N-acetylglucosaminidase in acidic soil. Oxidative enzyme activity varied widely across ecosystems, but did not decrease with N amendment at any site. Likewise, SOM and %C pools did not respond to N enrichment. Between-site variation in both soil properties and EEA exceeded any treatment response, and a large portion of EEA variability (leucine aminopeptidase and oxidative enzymes), 68% as shown by principal components analysis, was strongly related to soil pH (r = 0.91, P < 0.001). In these grassland ecosystems, soil microbial responses appear constrained by a molecular-scale (pH) edaphic factor, making potential breakdown rates of SOM resistant to N enrichment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00442-007-0836-6DOI Listing
November 2007

Microbial responses to long-term N deposition in a semiarid grassland.

Microb Ecol 2006 Jan 3;51(1):90-8. Epub 2006 Jan 3.

Biology Department, MSC 03 2020, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.

Nitrogen (N) enrichment of the biosphere is an expanding problem to which arid ecosystems may be particularly sensitive. In semiarid grasslands, scarce precipitation uncouples plant and microbial activities, and creates within the soil a spatial mosaic of rhizosphere and cyanobacterial crust communities. We investigated the impact of elevated N deposition on these soil microbial communities at a grama-dominated study site located incentral New Mexico (USA). The study plots were established in 1995 and receive 10 kg ha(-1) year(-1) of supplemental N in the form of NH(4)NO(3). Soil samples were collected in July 2004, following 2 years of severe drought, and again in March 2005 following a winter of record high precipitation. Soils were assayed for potential activities of 20 extracellular enzymes and N(2)O production. The rhizosphere and crust-associated soils had peptidase and peroxidase potentials that were extreme in relation to those of temperate soils. N addition enhanced glycosidase and phosphatase activities and depressed peptidase. In contrast to temperate forest soils, oxidative enzyme activity did not respond to N treatment. Across sampling dates, extracellular enzyme activity responses correlated with inorganic N concentrations. N(2)O generation did not vary significantly with soil cover or N treatment. Microbial responses to N deposition in this semiarid grassland were distinct from those of forest ecosystems and appear to be modulated by inorganic N accumulation, which is linked to precipitation patterns.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00248-005-5156-yDOI Listing
January 2006