Both drought and flooding are unfavorable for soil microorganisms, but nevertheless, are highly relevant to the extreme weather events that have been predicted to increase in the future. The switch of soil water status from drought to flooding can happen rapidly and microbial activity might be either stimulated or further inhibited, but we have insufficient understanding of the underlying microbial processes. Here, we tracked the changes in soil bacterial and fungal abundance and their community structures, assaying the total (DNA-based) and potentially active (RNA-based) communities in response to abrupt flooding of dry soil. Also, rates of soil respiration and enzyme activity were measured after flooding. Results showed that the bacterial community was found to be more responsive than the fungal community to flooding. The bacterial community responses were clearly classified into three distinct patterns in which the intermediate pattern displayed highly phylogenetic clustering. A transient flourish of Bacilli
which belongs to Firmicutes
was detected at 8–48 h of flooding, suggesting its potential importance in the microbial assemblage and subsequent ecosystem functioning. Finally, the accumulative amount of CO2
released was more closely related than enzyme activity to the change in structure of the bacterial community after flooding. In conclusion, these findings extended our understanding of the underlying soil microbial processes following abrupt water condition changes.
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