Submitted to: Soil Ecology Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/1/2013
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Background: Conservation tillage is common management practice utilized in the hopes of reducing soil erosion and increasing soil carbon. Additional evidence indicates that conservation tillage may lead to habitat improvement for soil microorganisms. Potential beneficial changes in rhizosphere bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) communities could, in turn, increase plant drought resistance and decrease fertilizer inputs. To gain a better understanding of how soil management practices influence plant-soil-microbial interactions, we conducted an experiment utilizing plots established in 1978 to compare the long-term effects of conventional and conservation tillage. Plots are currently under a corn-cotton rotation allowing us to examine the effects of both crop type and soil management on microbial communities. Methods: Bacterial communities were “fingerprinted” and analyzed using terminal restriction fragment length polymorphism (T-RFLP).We also utilized second-generation DNA sequencing methods to identify the fungal populations in the system. Results: Distinct soil microbial communities were identified between both crop type and soil management practice. For conventional and conservation tillage, these differences were significant both before and after planting. Stability of the bacterial cotton rhizopsheric community structure was more quickly established in conventional tillage, as compared to conservation tillage. Conclusion: By correlating microbial communities and colonization rates with plant nutrients and soil properties, findings from this study will further our understanding of how soil management practices impact plant-microbe relations and plant productivity. Ultimately, this research can aid in the development of best management practices that reduce fertilizer and water input.