Microbial activity in forest soil reflects the changes in ecosystem properties between summer and winter

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Žifčáková, Lucia
Větrovský, Tomáš
Baldrian, Petr
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Howe, Adina
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Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering

Since 1905, the Department of Agricultural Engineering, now the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering (ABE), has been a leader in providing engineering solutions to agricultural problems in the United States and the world. The department’s original mission was to mechanize agriculture. That mission has evolved to encompass a global view of the entire food production system–the wise management of natural resources in the production, processing, storage, handling, and use of food fiber and other biological products.

In 1905 Agricultural Engineering was recognized as a subdivision of the Department of Agronomy, and in 1907 it was recognized as a unique department. It was renamed the Department of Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering in 1990. The department merged with the Department of Industrial Education and Technology in 2004.

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  • Department of Agricultural Engineering (1907–1990)

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Understanding the ecology of coniferous forests is very important because these environments represent globally largest carbon sinks. Metatranscriptomics, microbial community and enzyme analyses were combined to describe the detailed role of microbial taxa in the functioning of the Picea abies-dominated coniferous forest soil in two contrasting seasons. These seasons were the summer, representing the peak of plant photosynthetic activity, and late winter, after an extended period with no photosynthate input. The results show that microbial communities were characterized by a high activity of fungi especially in litter where their contribution to microbial transcription was over 50%. Differences in abundance between summer and winter were recorded for 26–33% of bacterial genera and < 15% of fungal genera, but the transcript profiles of fungi, archaea and most bacterial phyla were significantly different among seasons. Further, the seasonal differences were larger in soil than in litter. Most importantly, fungal contribution to total microbial transcription in soil decreased from 33% in summer to 16% in winter. In particular, the activity of the abundant ectomycorrhizal fungi was reduced in winter, which indicates that plant photosynthetic production was likely one of the major drivers of changes in the functioning of microbial communities in this coniferous forest.


This is the pre-peer reviewed version of the following article: Zifacakova, L., Vetrovsky, T., Howe, A., Baldrian, P. 2016. Microbial activity in forest soil reflects the changes in ecosystem properties between summer and winter. Environmental Microbiology, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.13026. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.

Thu Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2015