Simulated nitrogen deposition effects on soil fauna from a semiarid Mediterranean ecosystem in central Spain

Ochoa-Hueso, Raúl and Rocha, Iluminada and Stevens, Carly and Manrique, Esteban and Luciañez, María José (2014) Simulated nitrogen deposition effects on soil fauna from a semiarid Mediterranean ecosystem in central Spain. Biology and Fertility of Soils, 50 (1). pp. 191-196. ISSN 0178-2762

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Nitrogen (N) deposition is a major threat to the semiarid Mediterranean ecosystems. We simulated a gradient of N deposition (0, 10, 20 and 50 kg N ha−1 year−1 + 6.4 kg N ha−1 year−1 ambient deposition) in a Mediterranean shrubland from central Spain. In autumn 2011 (after 4 years of experimental duration), soil cores were taken to extract the soil fauna. Acari (45.54%) and Collembola (44.00%) were the most represented taxonomical groups, and their abundance was negatively related to soil pH. Simulated N deposition had an impact on the total number of individuals in soil as well as on Collembola and Pauropoda abundance. Collembola abundance increased with N loads up to 20 kg N ha-1 year-1 and then decreased. This response was attributed to soil acidification (between 0 and 20 kg N ha-1 year-1) and increased soil ammonium (between 20 and 50 kg N ha-1 year-1). Pauropoda were favoured by additions of 50 kg N ha-1 year-1, and it was the only taxonomical group whose abundance was exclusively related to N deposition, suggesting their potential as bioindicators. Contrary to predictions, there was a negative relationship between soil faunal abundance and plant diversity. In conclusion, soil faunal communities from semiarid Mediterranean ecosystems in central Spain seem to be primarily influenced by soil chemistry (mainly pH) but are also susceptible to increased N deposition. The main drivers of change under increased N deposition scenarios seem to be soil acidification and increased ammonium in soils where nitrate is the dominant mineral N form.

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Journal Article
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Biology and Fertility of Soils
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29 Nov 2013 11:14
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22 Nov 2022 00:29