Accurate detection of soil microbial community responses to environmental change requires the use of multiple methods

Ernest D. Osburn, Steven G. McBride, Joseph V. Kupper, Jim A. Nelson, David H. McNear, Rebecca L. McCulley, J. E. Barrett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Identifying general patterns in microbial community responses to global change factors remains a challenge in soil ecology, partially due to different methods used to characterize microbial communities among studies. In this study, we used DNA-based (qPCR, sequencing) and PLFA approaches to assess microbial responses to both land use change and drought-rewetting. Both methods detected microbial community responses to land use change but the drought-rewetting responses detected by the two methods were qualitatively different: PLFAs revealed clear effects of soil drying on microbial communities, which 16S sequencing did not. In contrast, sequencing revealed strong responses to rewetting, which PLFAs did not show. Further, PLFAs revealed a marked increase in fungal:bacterial (F:B) ratios following drought, which was not evident in our qPCR data. Overall, our results show that full elucidation of microbial community responses to global change will require the use of multiple methodological approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108685
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Volume169
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Coweeta LTER, funded by National Science Foundation grant DEB-1637522 , a United States Department of Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellowship ( NIFA 1023307 ), and by the Virginia Tech Global Change Center. We thank the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service for support. We also thank Bobbie Niederlehner for help with analytical chemistry.

Funding Information:
This work was funded by the Coweeta LTER, funded by National Science Foundation grant DEB-1637522, a United States Department of Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellowship (NIFA 1023307), and by the Virginia Tech Global Change Center. We thank the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Southern Research Station, USDA Forest Service for support. We also thank Bobbie Niederlehner for help with analytical chemistry.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd

Keywords

  • Drought
  • Forest
  • fungal:bacterial
  • PLFA
  • qPCR
  • Rewetting
  • Sequencing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Soil Science

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