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Research article2024Peer reviewedOpen access

Microbial community composition unaffected by mycorrhizal plant removal in sub-arctic tundra

Kirchhoff, Leah; Gavazov, Konstantin; Blume-Werry, Gesche; Krab, Eveline J.; Lett, Signe; Pedersen, Emily Pickering; Peter, Martina; Pfister, Stephanie; Vaisanen, Maria; Monteux, Sylvain


Vegetation changes in a warming Arctic may affect plant-associated soil microbial communities with possible consequences for the biogeochemical cycling of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N). In a sub-arctic tundra heath, we factorially removed plant species with ecto- and ericoid mycorrhizal associations. After two years, we explored how mycorrhizal type-specific plant removal influences microbial communities, soil and microbial C and N pools, and extracellular enzymatic activities. Removal of ecto- and ericoid mycorrhizal plants did not change the soil fungal or bacterial community composition or their extracellular enzyme activities. However, ericoid plant removal decreased microbial C:N ratio, suggesting a stoichiometric effect decoupled from microbial community composition. In other words, microbial communities appear to show initial plasticity in response to major changes in tundra vegetation. This highlights the importance of longer-term perspectives when investigating the effects of vegetation changes on biogeochemical processes in Arctic ecosystems.


Ectomycorrhizal fungi; Ericoid mycorrhizal fungi; Plant-microbial-soil interactions; Tundra vegetation change; Functional type removal experiment; Heath; Bacteria

Published in

Fungal Ecology
2024, Volume: 69, article number: 101342

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Soil Science

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