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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Flooding Effects on Soil Microbial Communities

Authors
item Unger, Irene - GRAD STUDENT U OF M COLUM
item Kennedy, Ann
item Muzika, Rose-Marie - U OF M COLUMBIA

Submitted to: Applied Soil Ecology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 13, 2009
Publication Date: February 23, 2009
Repository URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10113/31492
Citation: Unger, I.M., Kennedy, A.C., Muzika, R. 2009. Flooding Effects on Soil Microbial Communities. Applied Soil Ecology 42 (1): 1-8.

Interpretive Summary: Flooding of a riparian forest affects the ecosystem both above- and below-ground. While the below-ground changes may be hidden from sight, they are no less important than the above-ground changes that are readily visible. Similar to their above-ground counterparts, soil microorganisms are sensitive to disturbance. We investigated the effect of various flood treatments on soil microbial community structure. This study illustrates the heterogeneous nature of the soil ecosystem. Responses to treatments varied with environment and soil type. Microbial communities changed in response to flood treatments in the greenhouse, but not in the field. Stagnant flood conditions in the greenhouse resulted in the decrease of microbial biomass and aerobic bacteria. The intermittent flood treatment resulted in the greatest microbial biomass but the responses of the various microbial markers under the intermittent flood treatment varied with treatment. This investigation of soil microbial communities will assist land managers in determining the impact of flooding on soil characteristics.

Technical Abstract: Flooding of a riparian forest affects the ecosystem both above- and below-ground. While the below-ground changes may be hidden from sight, they are no less important than the above-ground changes that are readily visible. Similar to their above-ground counterparts, soil microorganisms are sensitive to disturbance. We investigated the effect of various flood treatments on soil microbial community structure using PLFA . Responses to treatments varied with environmental conditions (greenhouse vs field), soil type, sampling depth, and sampling date and illustrated the heterogeneous nature of the soil ecosystem. Responses to flood treatments were observed for microbial communities under simulated flood conditions in the greenhouse but not in the field. Stagnant flood conditions in the greenhouse resulted in the decrease of microbial biomass and the aerobic microbial populations. The intermittent flood treatment resulted in the greatest microbial biomass, but the responses of the microbial markers under the intermittent flood treatment varied.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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