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Changes in soil enzymes related to C and N cycle and in soil C and N content under prolonged warming and drought in a Mediterranean shrubland

AuthorsSardans, Jordi; Peñuelas, Josep; Estiarte, Marc
KeywordsSoil ammonium availability
Soil nitrate availability
Soil urease
Soil β-glucosidase
Soil protease
Climate change
Issue DateJun-2008
CitationApplied Soil Ecology 39(2) : 223-235 (2008)
AbstractIn aMediterraneanshrubland, we investigated the effects of the projected warming and drought on soil urease, protease and β-glucosidase activities and the relation of the possible changes in the activities of these enzymes with the observed changes in soil moisture, soil pH and in C and N stocks in soils, leaves and leaf litter during 1 year (April 2004–May 2005). This investigation was conducted in a long-term experiment of warming and drought manipulation that began in 1999 and is lasting until now. Warming increased soil urease activity by 10% in the study period, mainly by increasing soil urease activity 30% in winter and 10% in spring, and increased β-glucosidase activity 38% in spring. Soil urease and β-glucosidase activities were positively correlated with soil temperatures in winter and negatively in summer. Warming increased soilenzyme activities in winter when soil moisture was highest and in spring coinciding with the greatest biological activity. Warming decreased NH4+soil concentration in the spring of 2004 (by 30%) and 2005 (by 72%), in consonance with the increase in N uptake by plants. Warming decreased N concentration in Globularia alypum leaf litter, increasing C/N leaf ratio by 30% showing an increase in N mobilization and contributing to a greater total N accumulation in plants. However, the greater NO3− availability in soil observed underwarming, probably by an increase in nitrification, may lead to a net N loss by leaching under the torrential rainfalls typical of the Mediterranean climate regions. Drought reduced soil protease activity (9%) in the study period, mainly by decreasing it in spring by 13–21%, but did not affect Nsoil contents because N turn-over reduction was counterbalanced by a decrease in N leaf concentrations. Soil protease activity was positively correlated with soil water content showing a strong dependence of this enzyme on soil water content. Drought did not affect β-glucosidase activity but tended to increase C contents in soils, which together with the increase in C/N in leaves indicate a reduction of C turn-over and a trend to increase C stocks in soil at long term. The effects of warming and drought on soilenzyme activities were due to a direct effect on soil temperature and soil water content, respectively, and not to changes on soil organic matter quantity and nutritional quality.
Description13 páginas, 4 tablas, 4 figuras.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2007.12.011
Appears in Collections:(CEAB) Artículos
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