Editor: Riks Laanbroek
Influence of land-use intensity on the spatial distribution of N-cycling microorganisms in grassland soils
Article first published online: 15 APR 2011
© 2011 Federation of European Microbiological Societies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd. All rights reserved
FEMS Microbiology Ecology
Volume 77, Issue 1, pages 95–106, July 2011
How to Cite
Keil, D., Meyer, A., Berner, D., Poll, C., Schützenmeister, A., Piepho, H.-P., Vlasenko, A., Philippot, L., Schloter, M., Kandeler, E. and Marhan, S. (2011), Influence of land-use intensity on the spatial distribution of N-cycling microorganisms in grassland soils. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 77: 95–106. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6941.2011.01091.x
- Issue published online: 6 JUN 2011
- Article first published online: 15 APR 2011
- Accepted manuscript online: 15 MAR 2011 10:02AM EST
- Received 24 November 2010; revised 28 February 2011; accepted 5 March 2011., Final version published online 15 April 2011.
- land-use intensity;
- ammonia oxidizers;
A geostatistical approach using replicated grassland sites (10 m × 10 m) was applied to investigate the influence of grassland management, i.e. unfertilized pastures and fertilized mown meadows representing low and high land-use intensity (LUI), on soil biogeochemical properties and spatial distributions of ammonia-oxidizing and denitrifying microorganisms in soil. Spatial autocorrelations of the different N-cycling communities ranged between 1.4 and 7.6 m for ammonia oxidizers and from 0.3 m for nosZ-type denitrifiers to scales >14 m for nirK-type denitrifiers. The spatial heterogeneity of ammonia oxidizers and nirS-type denitrifiers increased in high LUI, but decreased for biogeochemical properties, suggesting that biotic and/or abiotic factors other than those measured are driving the spatial distribution of these microorganisms at the plot scale. Furthermore, ammonia oxidizers (amoA ammonia-oxidizing archaea and amoA ammonia-oxidizing bacteria) and nitrate reducers (napA and narG) showed spatial coexistence, whereas niche partitioning was found between nirK- and nirS-type denitrifiers. Together, our results indicate that spatial analysis is a useful tool to characterize the distribution of different functional microbial guilds with respect to soil biogeochemical properties and land-use management. In addition, spatial analyses allowed us to identify distinct distribution ranges indicating the coexistence or niche partitioning of N-cycling communities in grassland soil.