Land management shapes drought responses of dominant soil microbial taxa across grasslands

Lavallee, J.M.; Chomel, M.; Alvarez Segura, N.; de Castro, F.; Goodall, T. ORCID:; Magilton, M.; Rhymes, J.M. ORCID:; Delgado-Baquerizo, M.; Griffiths, R.I.; Baggs, E.M.; Caruso, T.; de Vries, F.T.; Emmerson, M.; Johnson, D.; Bardgett, R.D.. 2024 Land management shapes drought responses of dominant soil microbial taxa across grasslands. Nature Communications, 15 (1), 29. 11, pp.

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Soil microbial communities are dominated by a relatively small number of taxa that may play outsized roles in ecosystem functioning, yet little is known about their capacities to resist and recover from climate extremes such as drought, or how environmental context mediates those responses. Here, we imposed an in situ experimental drought across 30 diverse UK grassland sites with contrasting management intensities and found that: (1) the majority of dominant bacterial (85%) and fungal (89%) taxa exhibit resistant or opportunistic drought strategies, possibly contributing to their ubiquity and dominance across sites; and (2) intensive grassland management decreases the proportion of drought-sensitive and non-resilient dominant bacteria—likely via alleviation of nutrient limitation and pH-related stress under fertilisation and liming—but has the opposite impact on dominant fungi. Our results suggest a potential mechanism by which intensive management promotes bacteria over fungi under drought with implications for soil functioning.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
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, grassland ecology, microbial ecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Biology and Microbiology
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Date made live: 09 Jan 2024 15:07 +0 (UTC)

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