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Keywords:

  • fatty acid methylester (FAME) profiles;
  • plant community;
  • rehabilitated quarries;
  • soil microbial communities;
  • soil properties

Abstract

The ecological development of soil microbial communities was studied in terms of microbial composition and structure at different rehabilitated phases on three quarries, namely Turret Hill Quarry (TH), Lam Tei Quarry (LT), and Shek O Quarry (SO), in Hong Kong. Using individual fatty acid methylesters (FAMEs) as biomarkers, Gram bacteria dominated at all sites, in which cy19:0 represented more than 15% of the total extracted FAMEs in all soils tested. Redundancy analysis showed that the abundance of Gram bacteria and Gram+ bacteria correlated significantly with woody species richness, native species richness, organic C, total N, and extractable NO3-N. Fungi (18:1w9c and 18:2w6) and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi (16:1w5c) decreased in abundance with increasing age in SO and LT, which were positively correlated with grass coverage, soil pH, extractable NH4-N, and extractable P. Our study suggested that soil aeration and C availability in soils played a dominant role driving the changes in the composition and structure of Gram bacteria and Gram+ bacteria communities. Available P was the limiting factor for regulating the fungal and AM fungal communities on our local quarries.