Next Article in Journal / Special Issue
Substrate Chemistry and Rainfall Regime Regulate Elemental Composition of Tree Leaves in Karst Forests
Previous Article in Journal
Tree Species Site Suitability as a Combination of Occurrence Probability and Growth and Derivation of Priority Regions for Climate Change Adaptation
Previous Article in Special Issue
Novelty and Its Ecological Implications to Dry Forest Functioning and Conservation
Article Menu
Issue 6 (June) cover image

Export Article

Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Forests 2017, 8(6), 178; doi:10.3390/f8060178

Soil Biology Research across Latitude, Elevation and Disturbance Gradients: A Review of Forest Studies from Puerto Rico during the Past 25 Years

1
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Jardín Botánico Sur, 1201 Ceiba St.-Río Piedras, 00926, Puerto Rico
2
United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station, Luquillo 00773-1377; Puerto Rico
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Timothy A. Martin
Received: 31 March 2013 / Revised: 16 May 2017 / Accepted: 20 May 2017 / Published: 24 May 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tropical Forest Ecology and Management for the Anthropocene)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [737 KB, uploaded 24 May 2017]

Abstract

Progress in understanding changes in soil biology in response to latitude, elevation and disturbance gradients has generally lagged behind studies of above-ground plants and animals owing to methodological constraints and high diversity and complexity of interactions in below-ground food webs. New methods have opened research opportunities in below-ground systems, leading to a rapid increase in studies of below-ground organisms and processes. Here, we summarize results of forest soil biology research over the past 25 years in Puerto Rico as part of a 75th Anniversary Symposium on research of the USDA Forest Service International Institute of Tropical Forestry. These results are presented in the context of changes in soil and forest floor biota across latitudinal, elevation and disturbance gradients. Invertebrate detritivores in these tropical forests exerted a stronger influence on leaf decomposition than in cold temperate forests using a common substrate. Small changes in arthropods brought about using different litterbag mesh sizes induced larger changes in leaf litter mass loss and nutrient mineralization. Fungi and bacteria in litter and soil of wet forests were surprisingly sensitive to drying, leading to changes in nutrient cycling. Tropical fungi also showed sensitivity to environmental fluctuations and gradients as fungal phylotype composition in soil had a high turnover along an elevation gradient in Puerto Rico. Globally, tropical soil fungi had smaller geographic ranges than temperate fungi. Invertebrate activity accelerates decomposition of woody debris, especially in lowland dry forest, but invertebrates are also important in early stages of log decomposition in middle elevation wet forests. Large deposits of scoltine bark beetle frass from freshly fallen logs coincide with nutrient immobilization by soil microbial biomass and a relatively low density of tree roots in soil under newly fallen logs. Tree roots shifted their foraging locations seasonally in relation to decaying logs. Native earthworms were sensitive to disturbance and were absent from tree plantations, whereas introduced earthworms were found across elevation and disturbance gradients. View Full-Text
Keywords: tropical forests; invertebrates; microbiota; soil biota; litter; wood; latitude; elevation; disturbance; gradients tropical forests; invertebrates; microbiota; soil biota; litter; wood; latitude; elevation; disturbance; gradients
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Scifeed alert for new publications

Never miss any articles matching your research from any publisher
  • Get alerts for new papers matching your research
  • Find out the new papers from selected authors
  • Updated daily for 49'000+ journals and 6000+ publishers
  • Define your Scifeed now

SciFeed Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

González, G.; Lodge, D.J. Soil Biology Research across Latitude, Elevation and Disturbance Gradients: A Review of Forest Studies from Puerto Rico during the Past 25 Years. Forests 2017, 8, 178.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics

1

Comments

[Return to top]
Forests EISSN 1999-4907 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top