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Forests 2018, 9(9), 532; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9090532

Unravelling the Functional Diversity of the Soil Microbial Community of Chinese Fir Plantations of Different Densities

1,2,3
,
2,3,4
,
1,2,3
,
1,2,3
and
1,2,3,*
1
Research Institute of Forestry, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
2
State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and Breeding, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
3
Key Laboratory of Tree Breeding and Cultivation of State Forestry Administration, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
4
Research Institute of Forest Ecology, Environment and Protection, Chinese Academy of Forestry, Beijing 100091, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 30 August 2018 / Published: 31 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

The structure and function of forest ecosystems are directly or indirectly affected by their stand density. However, what effect the density of Chinese fir plantations has on the functional diversity of the soil microbial community remains unclear. The microbial metabolic functional diversity of soils sampled at the topsoil (0–20 cm) of 35-year-old Chinese fir plantations of five initial densities (D1: 1667 stems∙hm−2, D2: 3333 stems∙hm−2, D3: 5000 stems∙hm−2, D4: 6667 stems∙hm−2, and D5: 10,000 stems∙hm−2) was studied by using Biolog ECO technology. The results showed that the soil pH, oxidizable organic carbon (SOOC), available N (AN), available P (AP), and available K (AK) contents all showed a gradual increase from D1 to D4 and a decrease from D4 to D5, while the number of culturable bacteria and total microorganisms, the average well color development (AWCD) values for the single carbon substrate and six types of carbon sources used by the microbial community, as well as the Shannon-Wiener diversity index (H’), Pielou evenness index (J), and McIntosh Diversity Index (U), were the opposite, suggesting that low-densities favored C and N mineralization and the nutrient cycle. The density of Chinese fir plantations had a significant effect on the use of carbohydrates, amino acids, carboxylic acids, and phenolic acids by the soil microbial community, but it had no significant effect on the use of polymers (p < 0.05). Principal component analysis (PCA) revealed that carbohydrates, polymers, and phenolic acids were sensitive carbon sources that caused differences in the metabolic functions of soil microbial communities in Chinese fir plantations. Redundancy analysis (RDA) showed that physicochemical factors have a significant influence on the metabolic function of soil microbial communities (RDA1 and RDA2 explained >85% variance). The changes in density affected the soil physicochemical properties, the composition, and the metabolic functional diversity of microbial communities in Chinese fir plantations, which is certainly useful for the stand density regulation of Chinese fir plantations. View Full-Text
Keywords: stand density change drivers; plant-micro-organism interactions; metabolic function; Biolog ECO stand density change drivers; plant-micro-organism interactions; metabolic function; Biolog ECO
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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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Wang, C.; Xue, L.; Dong, Y.; Wei, Y.; Jiao, R. Unravelling the Functional Diversity of the Soil Microbial Community of Chinese Fir Plantations of Different Densities. Forests 2018, 9, 532.

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