Plant regeneration functional groups modulate the response to fire of soil enzyme activities in a Mediterranean shrubland

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Title: Plant regeneration functional groups modulate the response to fire of soil enzyme activities in a Mediterranean shrubland
Authors: López-Poma, Rosario | Bautista, Susana
Research Group/s: Gestión de Ecosistemas y de la Biodiversidad (GEB)
Center, Department or Service: Universidad de Alicante. Departamento de Ecología | Universidad de Alicante. Instituto Multidisciplinar para el Estudio del Medio "Ramón Margalef"
Keywords: Acid phosphatase | β-glucosidase | Fire effects | Post-fire | Resprouter | Seeder | Soil enzyme
Knowledge Area: Ecología
Issue Date: Dec-2014
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 2014, 79: 5-13. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.08.016
Abstract: Soil enzymes are critical to soil nutrient cycling function but knowledge on the factors that control their response to major disturbances such as wildfires remains very limited. We evaluated the effect of fire-related plant functional traits (resprouting and seeding) on the resistance and resilience to fire of two soil enzyme activities involved in phosphorus and carbon cycling (acid phosphatase and β-glucosidase) in a Mediterranean shrublands in SE Spain. Using experimental fires, we compared four types of shrubland microsites: SS (vegetation patches dominated by seeder species), RR (patches dominated by resprouter species), SR (patches co-dominated by seeder and resprouter species), and IP (shrub interpatches). We assessed pre- and post-fire activities of the target soil enzymes, available P, soil organic C, and plant cover dynamics over three years after the fire. Post-fire regeneration functional groups (resprouter, seeder) modulated both pre- and post-fire activity of acid phosphatase and β-glucosidase, with higher activity in RR and SR patches than in SS patches and IP. However, we found no major differences in enzyme resistance and resilience between microsite types, except for a trend towards less resilience in SS patches. Fire similarly reduced the activity of both enzymes. However, acid phosphatase and β-glucosidase showed contrasting post-fire dynamics. While β-glucosidase proved to be rather resilient to fire, fully recovering three years after fire, acid phosphatase showed no signs of recovery in that period. Overall, the results indicate a positive influence of resprouter species on soil enzyme activity that is very resistant to fire. Long-lasting decrease in acid phosphatase activity probably resulted from the combined effect of P availability and post-fire drought. Our results provide insights on how plant functional traits modulate soil biochemical and microbiological response to fire in Mediterranean fire-prone shrublands.
Sponsor: This work was supported by the research projects FEEDBACK (CGL2011-30515- C02-01), funded by the Spanish Ministry of Innovation and Science, and CASCADE (GA283068), funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013).
ISSN: 0038-0717 (Print) | 1879-3428 (Online)
DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.08.016
Language: eng
Type: info:eu-repo/semantics/article
Rights: © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Peer Review: si
Publisher version:
Appears in Collections:INV - GEB - Artículos de Revistas
Research funded by the EU

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