Decomposition of leaf litter mixtures across biomes : The role of litter identity, diversity and soil fauna
Zhou, Shixing ; Butenschoen, Olaf ; Barantal, Sandra ; Handa, Ira Tanya ; Makkonen, Marika ; Vos, Veronique ; Aerts, Rien ; Berg, Matty P. ; McKie, Brendan ; Ruijven, Jasper Van; Hättenschwiler, Stephan ; Scheu, Stefan - \ 2020
Journal of Ecology (2020). - ISSN 0022-0477
litter diversity - litter identity - litter traits - mass loss - microarthropods - plant–soil (below-ground) interactions - soil fauna
At broad spatial scales, the factors regulating litter decomposition remain ambiguous, with the understanding of these factors largely based on studies investigating site-specific single litter species, whereas studies using multi litter species mixtures across sites are rare. We exposed in microcosms containing single species and all possible mixtures of four leaf litter species differing widely in initial chemical and physical characteristics from a temperate forest to the climatic conditions of four different forests across the Northern Hemisphere for 1 year. Calcium, magnesium and condensed tannins predicted litter mass loss of single litter species and mixtures across forest types and biomes, regardless of species richness and microarthropod presence. However, relative mixture effects differed among forest types and varied with the access to the litter by microarthropods. Access to the microcosms by microarthropods modified the decomposition of individual litter species within mixtures, which differed among forest types independent of litter species richness and composition of litter mixtures. However, soil microarthropods generally only little affected litter decomposition. Synthesis. We conclude that litter identity is the dominant driver of decomposition across different forest types and the non-additive litter mixture effects vary among biomes despite identical leaf litter chemistry. These results suggest that across large spatial scales the environmental context of decomposing litter mixtures, including microarthropod communities, determine the decomposition of litter mixtures besides strong litter trait-based effects.
Priorities for research in soil ecology
Eisenhauer, Nico ; Antunes, Pedro M. ; Bennett, Alison E. ; Birkhofer, Klaus ; Bissett, Andrew ; Bowker, Matthew A. ; Caruso, Tancredi ; Chen, Baodong ; Coleman, David C. ; Boer, Wietse de; Ruiter, Peter de; DeLuca, Thomas H. ; Frati, Francesco ; Griffiths, Bryan S. ; Hart, Miranda M. ; Hättenschwiler, Stephan ; Haimi, Jari ; Heethoff, Michael ; Kaneko, Nobuhiro ; Kelly, Laura C. ; Leinaas, Hans Petter ; Lindo, Zoë ; Macdonald, Catriona ; Rillig, Matthias C. ; Ruess, Liliane ; Scheu, Stefan ; Schmidt, Olaf ; Seastedt, Timothy R. ; Straalen, Nico M. van; Tiunov, Alexei V. ; Zimmer, Martin ; Powell, Jeff R. - \ 2017
Pedobiologia 63 (2017). - ISSN 0031-4056 - p. 1 - 7.
Aboveground-belowground interactions - Biodiversity–ecosystem functioning - Biogeography - Chemical ecology - Climate change - Ecosystem services - Global change - Microbial ecology - Novel environments - Plant-microbe interactions - Soil biodiversity - Soil food web - Soil management - Soil processes
The ecological interactions that occur in and with soil are of consequence in many ecosystems on the planet. These interactions provide numerous essential ecosystem services, and the sustainable management of soils has attracted increasing scientific and public attention. Although soil ecology emerged as an independent field of research many decades ago, and we have gained important insights into the functioning of soils, there still are fundamental aspects that need to be better understood to ensure that the ecosystem services that soils provide are not lost and that soils can be used in a sustainable way. In this perspectives paper, we highlight some of the major knowledge gaps that should be prioritized in soil ecological research. These research priorities were compiled based on an online survey of 32 editors of Pedobiologia – Journal of Soil Ecology. These editors work at universities and research centers in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. The questions were categorized into four themes: (1) soil biodiversity and biogeography, (2) interactions and the functioning of ecosystems, (3) global change and soil management, and (4) new directions. The respondents identified priorities that may be achievable in the near future, as well as several that are currently achievable but remain open. While some of the identified barriers to progress were technological in nature, many respondents cited a need for substantial leadership and goodwill among members of the soil ecology research community, including the need for multi-institutional partnerships, and had substantial concerns regarding the loss of taxonomic expertise.
Consequences of biodiversity loss for litter decomposition across biomes
Handa, I.T. ; Aerts, R. ; Berendse, F. ; Berg, M.P. ; Butenschoen, O. ; Bruder, A. ; Chauvet, E. ; Gessner, M.O. ; Jabiol, J. ; Makkonen, M. ; McKie, B.G. ; Malmqvist, B. ; Peeters, E.T.H.M. ; Scheu, S. ; Schmid, B. ; Ruijven, J. van; Vos, V.C.A. ; Hattenschwiler, S. - \ 2014
Nature 509 (2014). - ISSN 0028-0836 - p. 218 - 221.
species functional diversity - leaf-litter - ecosystems - patterns - services - climate - traits
The decomposition of dead organic matter is a major determinant of carbon and nutrient cycling in ecosystems, and of carbon fluxes between the biosphere and the atmosphere1, 2, 3. Decomposition is driven by a vast diversity of organisms that are structured in complex food webs2, 4. Identifying the mechanisms underlying the effects of biodiversity on decomposition is critical4, 5, 6 given the rapid loss of species worldwide and the effects of this loss on human well-being7, 8, 9. Yet despite comprehensive syntheses of studies on how biodiversity affects litter decomposition4, 5, 6, 10, key questions remain, including when, where and how biodiversity has a role and whether general patterns and mechanisms occur across ecosystems and different functional types of organism4, 9, 10, 11, 12. Here, in field experiments across five terrestrial and aquatic locations, ranging from the subarctic to the tropics, we show that reducing the functional diversity of decomposer organisms and plant litter types slowed the cycling of litter carbon and nitrogen. Moreover, we found evidence of nitrogen transfer from the litter of nitrogen-fixing plants to that of rapidly decomposing plants, but not between other plant functional types, highlighting that specific interactions in litter mixtures control carbon and nitrogen cycling during decomposition. The emergence of this general mechanism and the coherence of patterns across contrasting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems suggest that biodiversity loss has consistent consequences for litter decomposition and the cycling of major elements on broad spatial scales.
Highly consistent effects of plant litter identity and functional traits on decomposition across a latitudinal gradient
Makkonen, M. ; Berg, M.P. ; Handa, I.T. ; Hättenschwiler, S. ; Ruijven, J. van; Bodegom, P.M. van; Aerts, M.A.P.A. - \ 2012
Ecology Letters 15 (2012)9. - ISSN 1461-023X - p. 1033 - 1041.
tropical rain-forest - leaf-litter - terrestrial ecosystems - central argentina - carbon-cycle - rates - dynamics - climate - quality - diversity
Plant litter decomposition is a key process in terrestrial carbon cycling, yet the relative importance of various control factors remains ambiguous at a global scale. A full reciprocal litter transplant study with 16 litter species that varied widely in traits and originated from four forest sites covering a large latitudinal gradient (subarctic to tropics) showed a consistent interspecific ranking of decomposition rates. At a global scale, variation in decomposition was driven by a small subset of litter traits (water saturation capacity and concentrations of magnesium and condensed tannins). These consistent findings, that were largely independent of the varying local decomposer communities, suggest that decomposer communities show little specialisation and high metabolic flexibility in processing plant litter, irrespective of litter origin. Our results provide strong support for using trait-based approaches in modelling the global decomposition component of biosphere-atmosphere carbon fluxes