Climate-induced die-offaffects plant-soil-microbe ecological relationship and functioning

Francisco Lloret, Stefania Mattana, Jorge Curiel Yuste

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


© FEMS 2014. All rights reserved. This study reports the relationship between the diversity and functioning of fungal and bacterial soil communities with vegetation in Mediterranean woodland that experienced severe die-offafter a drought episode. Terminal restriction fragment length polymorfism (TRFLP) was used to describe microbial community structure and diversity five years after the episode in different habitats (Juniperus woodland, shrubland, grassland), when the vegetation had not yet recovered. Vegetation diversity was positively related to TRF bacterial richness under unaffected canopies and was higher in diverse grassland. Fungal TRF richness correlated with vegetation type, being greater in Juniperus woodland. Microbial respiration increased in grassland, whereas microbial biomass, estimated from soil substrate-induced respiration (SIR), decreased with bacterial diversity. Die-offincreased bacterial richness and changed bacterial composition, particularly in Juniperus woodland, where herbaceous species increased, while fungal diversity was reduced in Juniperus woodland. Die-offincreased microbial respiration rates. The impact on vegetation from extreme weather episodes spread to microbial communities by modifying vegetation composition and litter quantity and quality, particularly as a result of the increase in herbaceous species. Our results suggest that climate-induced die-offtriggers significant cascade effects on soil microbial communities, which may in turn further influence ecosystem C dynamics.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberiu014
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


  • Climate change
  • Drought episode
  • Extreme climatic event
  • Microbial diversity
  • Microbial soil respiration
  • Soil microbial community


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