Microbial diversity during cellulose decomposition in different forest stands: I. microbial communities and environmental conditions

Ariana Kubartová, Judicaël Moukoumi, Thierry Béguiristain, Jacques Ranger, Jacques Berthelin
Microbial Ecology 2007, 54 (3): 393-405
We studied the effect of forest tree species on a community of decomposers that colonize cellulose strips. Both fungal and bacterial communities were targeted in a native forest dominated by beech and oak and 30-year-old beech and spruce plantations, growing in similar ecological conditions in the Breuil-Chenue experimental forest site in Morvan (France). Microbial ingrowths from the 3rd to 10th month of strip decomposition (May to December 2004) were studied. Community composition was assessed using temperature gradient gel electrophoresis with universal fungal (ITS1F, ITS2) and bacterial (1401r, 968f) primers. Soil temperature and moisture as well as fungal biomass were also measured to give additional information on decomposition processes. Changing the dominant tree species had no significant influence in the number of decomposer species. However, decomposer community composition was clearly different. If compared to the native forest, where community composition highly differed, young monocultures displayed similar species structure for fungi and bacteria. Both species numbers and community composition evolved during the decay process. Time effect was found to be more important than tree species. Nevertheless, the actual environmental conditions and seasonal effect seemed to be even more determining factors for the development of microbial communities. The course and correlations of the explored variables often differed between tree species, although certain general trends were identified. Fungal biomass was high in summer, despite that species richness (SR) decreased and conversely, that high SR did not necessarily mean high biomass values. It can be concluded that the growth and development of the microbiological communities that colonized a model material in situ depended on the combination of physical and biological factors acting collectively and interdependently at the forest soil microsite.

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