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Forests 2018, 9(8), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9080497

The Abundance of Fungi, Bacteria and Denitrification Genes during Insect Outbreaks in Scots Pine Forests

1
Institute of Soil Science of Temperate and Boreal Ecosystems, Department of Forest Sciences and Forest Ecology, University of Goettingen, 37077 Goettingen, Germany
2
Molecular Phytopathology and Mycotoxin Research, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Goettingen, 37077 Goettingen, Germany
3
Section of Animal Nutrition and Animal Health, Organic Agricultural Science, University Kassel, 37213 Witzenhausen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 30 July 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 14 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

Outbreaks of defoliating insects may affect microbial populations in forests and thereby mass balances and ecosystem functioning. Here, we investigated the microbial dynamics in Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests during outbreaks of the nun moth (Lymantria monacha L.) and the pine-tree lappet (Dendrolimus pini L.). We used real-time PCR (polymerase chain reaction) to quantify genes that characterize bacterial and fungal abundance and the denitrification processes (nirK, nirS, nosZ clades I and II) in different forest compartments and we analyzed the C and N content of pine needles, insect feces, larvae, vegetation layers, organic layers, and mineral soil horizons. The infestation of the nun moth increased the bacterial abundance on pine needles, in the vegetation layer, and in the upper organic layer, while fungal populations were increased in the vegetation layer and upper organic layer during both outbreaks. In soil, the abundance of nirK increased after insect defoliation, while the C/N ratios decreased. nosZ clades I and II showed variable responses in different soil layers and to different defoliating insects. Our results illustrate changes in the microbial populations in pine forests that were infested by defoliating insects and changes in the chemical soil properties that foster these populations, indicating a genetic potential for increased soil N2O emissions during the defoliation peak of insect outbreak events. View Full-Text
Keywords: insect outbreak; Scots pine forest; soil; phyllosphere; bacterial 16S; fungal 18S; nirK; nirS; nosZ; real-time PCR insect outbreak; Scots pine forest; soil; phyllosphere; bacterial 16S; fungal 18S; nirK; nirS; nosZ; real-time PCR
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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).
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Grüning, M.M.; Beule, L.; Meyer, S.; Karlovsky, P.; I.-M.-Arnold, A. The Abundance of Fungi, Bacteria and Denitrification Genes during Insect Outbreaks in Scots Pine Forests. Forests 2018, 9, 497.

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