The effects of short-term inundation on carbon dynamics, microbial community structure and microbial activity in floodplain soil

Authors

  • J. S. Wilson,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Environmental Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Albury, New South Wales, Australia
    2. The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, PO Box 991, Wodonga, Victoria Australia
    • The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, Wodonga, Australia.
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  • D. S. Baldwin,

    1. The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, PO Box 991, Wodonga, Victoria Australia
    2. CSIRO Land and Water, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
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  • G. N. Rees,

    1. The Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre, PO Box 991, Wodonga, Victoria Australia
    2. CSIRO Land and Water, Wodonga, Victoria, Australia
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  • B. P. Wilson

    1. School of Environmental Sciences, Charles Sturt University, Albury, New South Wales, Australia
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Abstract

A mesocosm study was carried out to determine whether flooding affected soil microbial structure and function. Over a 24 day period soils were either flooded or remained dry and changes in the microbial community structure, microbial metabolic activity (determined by looking at soil respiration rates and exo-enzyme activity), community level physiological profiles and soil carbon speciation were examined. Flooding induced significant changes in the microbial community structure and increased soil respiration and enzymatic degradation rates. Shifts occurred in carbon speciation after flooding and increases in ‘labile’ carbon fractions were observed. The duration of flooding was also important for carbon dynamics and microbial community structure. Based on the results of the mesocosm experiment a conceptual model of floodplain soils response to flooding over time was formulated. The findings of this mesocosm study illustrate the importance of flooding to floodplain soil functioning. Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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