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Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 253; doi:10.3390/su8030253

Indication of Importance of Including Soil Microbial Characteristics into Biotope Valuation Method

1
Faculty of Environment, Jan Evangelista Purkyně University in Ústí nad Labem, Králova Výšina 3132/7, 400 96 Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
2
Institute of Chemical Process Fundamentals, ASCR, Rozvojová 135, 165 00 Prague 6, Czech Republic
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Vincenzo Torretta
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 17 February 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Abstract

Soil is a key part of a biotope and microorganisms are dominant components contributing to soil functions. Conversely, established methods for valuation of biotopes according to Natura 2000 rely predominantly on the communities living on the surface. Here, we aimed to assess soil microbial biomass and community structure on five localities with range of biotope values by means of phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) profiling. PLFA figures were affected both by sampling season (spring vs. autumn) and locality. In spring, the living microbial biomass (estimated by PLFAtot) exhibited poor correlation to biotope values. These were, on the contrary, correlated to trans/cis PLFA, an indicator of microbial stress, (i.e., lower stress in higher-rated biotopes), and fungal/bacterial PLFA (i.e., higher-rated biotopes contained more fungi). The attempt to model biotope values from microbial characteristics explained a maximum of ~50% of the variability; the best predictors were the trans/cis stress indicator, percentage of actinobacterial PLFA, and ratio of PLFA of Gram-positive to Gram-negative bacteria. These results show that soil microbial characteristics present partly new information and indicate the need to amend the procedures of biotope assessment. Soil PLFA profiling could serve as suitable methods for this purpose. View Full-Text
Keywords: biotope assessment; biotope valuation method; soil microbial communities; phospholipid fatty acids; fungi/bacteria ratio; soil stress indicators biotope assessment; biotope valuation method; soil microbial communities; phospholipid fatty acids; fungi/bacteria ratio; soil stress indicators
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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MDPI and ACS Style

Trögl, J.; Pavlorková, J.; Packová, P.; Seják, J.; Kuráň, P.; Popelka, J.; Pacina, J. Indication of Importance of Including Soil Microbial Characteristics into Biotope Valuation Method. Sustainability 2016, 8, 253.

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