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

Morriën, Elly; Hannula, S. Emilia; Snoek, L. Basten; Helmsing, Nico R.; Zweers, Hans; de Hollander, Mattias; Soto, Raquel Luján; Bouffaud, Marie-Lara; Buée, Marc; Dimmers, Wim; Duyts, Henk; Geisen, Stefan; Girlanda, Mariangela; Griffiths, Rob I.; Jørgensen, Helene-Bracht; Jensen, John; Plassart, Pierre; Redecker, Dirk; Schmelz, Rűdiger M; Schmidt, Olaf; Thomson, Bruce C.; Tisserant, Emilie; Uroz, Stephane; Winding, Anne; Bailey, Mark J.; Bonkowski, Michael; Faber, Jack H.; Martin, Francis; Lemanceau, Philippe; de Boer, Wietse; van Veen, Johannes A.; van der Putten, Wim H.. 2017 Soil networks become more connected and take up more carbon as nature restoration progresses. Nature Communications, 8, 14349. 10, pp.

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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.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Acreman
Directors, SCs
ISSN: 2041-1723
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: ecosystem ecology, food webs, grassland ecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 30 Mar 2017 09:58 +0 (UTC)

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