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Forest gene diversity is correlated with the composition and function of soil microbial communities


Schweitzer, J and Fischer, DG and Rehill, BJ and Wooley, SC and Woolbright, SA and Lindroth, RL and Whitham, TG and Zak, DR and Hart, SC, Forest gene diversity is correlated with the composition and function of soil microbial communities , Population Ecology, 53, (1) pp. 35-46 . ISSN 1438-3896 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright The Society of Population Ecology and Springer 2010

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DOI: doi:10.1007/s10144-010-0252-3


The growing field of community and ecosystem genetics indicates that plant genotype and genotypic variation are important for structuring communities and ecosystem processes. Little is known, however, regarding the effects of stand gene diversity on soil communities and processes under field conditions. Utilizing natural genetic variation occurring in Populus spp. hybrid zones, we tested the hypothesis that stand gene diversity structures soil microbial communities and influences soil nutrient pools. We found significant unimodal patterns relating gene diversity to soil microbial community composition, microbial exoenzyme activity of a carbon-acquiring enzyme, and availability of soil nitrogen. Multivariate analyses indicate that this pattern is due to the correlation between gene diversity, plant secondary chemistry, and the composition of the microbial community that impacts the availability of soil nitrogen. Together, these data from a natural system indicate that stand gene diversity may affect soil microbial communities and soil processes in ways similar to species diversity (i.e., unimodal patterns). Our results further demonstrate that the effects of plant genetic diversity on other organisms may be mediated by plant functional trait variation.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:community and ecosystem genetics, extracellular enzyme activity, functional traits, genetic diversity, Populus, unimodal diversity patterns, community composition, forest soil, hybrid zone, microbial community, soil ecosystem, soil microorganism
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Community ecology (excl. invasive species ecology)
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Fresh, ground and surface water systems and management
Objective Field:Assessment and management of freshwater ecosystems
UTAS Author:Schweitzer, J (Dr Jen Schweitzer)
ID Code:73631
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:42
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2011-10-19
Last Modified:2013-03-19

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