Bouncing Back: Plant-Associated Soil Microbes Respond Rapidly to Prairie Establishment


Anna J. Herzberger, David S. Duncan, Randall D. Jackson

Journal or Book Title: PLoS One

Volume/Issue: 9(12)

Year Published: 2014


It is well established that soil microbial communities change in response to altered
land use and land cover, but less is known about the timing of these changes.
Understanding temporal patterns in recovering microbial communities is an
important part of improving how we assess and manage reconstructed ecosystems.
We assessed patterns of community-level microbial diversity and abundance in
corn and prairie plots 2 to 4 years after establishment in agricultural fields, using
phospholipid fatty acid biomarkers. Principal components analysis of the lipid
biomarkers revealed differing composition between corn and prairie soil microbial
communities. Despite no changes to the biomass of Gram-positive bacteria and
actinomycetes, total biomass, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi biomass, and Gramnegative
bacteria biomass were significantly higher in restored prairie plots,
approaching levels found in long-established prairies. These results indicate that
plant-associated soil microbes in agricultural soils can shift in less than 2 years after
establishment of perennial grasslands.

DOI: 10. 1371/journal.pone.0115775

Type of Publication: Journal Article