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2024

Effects of rewatering on soil fungi and soil enzymes in a spruce-beech forest after a 5-year experimental drought

Mucha, Joanna; Danzberger, Jasmin; Werner, Ramona; Pritsch, Karin; Weikl, Fabian

Abstract

Backgrounds and aimsThe functioning of temperate forests may change dramatically in the future due to more extreme precipitation events. In contrast to drought effects, little is known about the reaction of soil fungi to rewatering. We studied soil fungal communities and soil enzymatic activities over a period of 3 months following rewatering after 5 years of experimental drought.ResultsThe most pronounced changes compared to the drought phase occurred early after rewatering in the beech root zone and were mainly attributed to litter decomposers. In the spruce zone, the relative abundance of ectomycorrhizal fungi (ECMf) was lower during the initial phase of response to rewatering but approached control levels after 3 months. The previous drought treatment was influencing the structure of the saprotrophic fungal community (SAPf) more than that of the ECMf community during rewatering. The composition of the SAPf community was associated with changes in nitrogen (mineral nitrogen: control 2.86, rewatering = 1.53), while that of the ECMf community was associated with the soil water content (control = 26%, and rewatering = 22%). Soil enzyme activities were positively correlated with the diversity and composition of SAPf communities, especially in previously drought-treated plots. In beech and mixed root zones, plant cell wall-degrading enzyme activities were elevated in rewatered plots compared with control plots, while in spruce, only cellobiohydrolase and beta-glucosidase were elevated.ConclusionStructural changes within SAPf communities associated with nitrogen dynamics correlated with enzymatic activity in response to rewatering. A low responsiveness of fungal community composition in the mixed root zone suggests its buffering capacity against fluctuating soil moisture conditions.

Keywords

Forest soil fungi; Soil enzyme activities; Norway spruce; European beech; Mixed interaction; Experimental drought; Rewatering

Published in

Plant and Soil
2024,
Publisher: SPRINGER

    Associated SLU-program

    SLU Forest Damage Center

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science
    Forest Science

    Publication identifier

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-024-06564-3

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/128985