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Abiotic drivers and plant traits explain landscape-scale patterns in soil microbial communities

De Vries, Franciska and Manning, Pete and Tallowin, Jerry and Mortimer, Simon and Pilgrim, Emma and Harrison, Kate and Hobbs, Phil and Quirk, Helen and Shipley, Bill and Cornelissen, Hans and Kattge, Jens and Bardgett, Richard (2012) Abiotic drivers and plant traits explain landscape-scale patterns in soil microbial communities. Ecology Letters, 15 (11). pp. 1230-1239. ISSN 1461-023X

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Abstract

The controls on aboveground community composition and diversity have been extensively studied, but our understanding of the drivers of belowground microbial communities is relatively lacking, despite their importance for ecosystem functioning. In this study, we fitted statistical models to explain landscape-scale variation in soil microbial community composition using data from 180 sites covering a broad range of grassland types, soil and climatic conditions in England. We found that variation in soil microbial communities was explained by abiotic factors like climate, pH and soil properties. Biotic factors, namely community-weighted means (CWM) of plant functional traits, also explained variation in soil microbial communities. In particular, more bacterial-dominated microbial communities were associated with exploitative plant traits versus fungal-dominated communities with resource-conservative traits, showing that plant functional traits and soil microbial communities are closely related at the landscape scale.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Ecology Letters
Uncontrolled Keywords: bacteria ; carbon ; climate ; distribution ; fungi ; microbial communities ; modelling ; nitrogen ; plant communities ; plant functional traits ; soil
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 55830
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 11 Jul 2012 10:52
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2013 00:55
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/55830

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