Skip to main content

Differential Organic Carbon Mineralization Responses to Soil Moisture in Three Different Soil Orders Under Mixed Forested Sys...

Publication Type
Journal Name
Frontiers in Environmental Science
Publication Date
Page Numbers
1 to 13

Soil microbial respiration is one of the largest sources of carbon (C) emissions to the atmosphere in terrestrial ecosystems, which is strongly dependent on multiple environmental variables including soil moisture. Soil moisture content is strongly dependent on soil texture, and the combined effects of texture and moisture on microbial respiration are complex and less explored. Therefore, this study examines the effects of soil moisture on the mineralization of soil organic C Soil organic carbon in three different soils, Ultisol, Alfisol and Vertisol, collected from mixed forests of Georgia, Missouri, and Texas, United States , respectively. A laboratory microcosm experiment was conducted for 90 days under different moisture regimes. Soil respiration was measured weekly, and destructive harvests were conducted at 1, 15, 60, and 90 days after incubation to determine extractable organic C (EOC), phospholipid fatty acid based microbial community, and C-acquiring hydrolytic extracellular enzyme activities (EEA). The highest cumulative respiration in Ultisol was observed at 50% water holding capacity (WHC), in Alfisol at 100% water holding capacity, and in Vertisol at 175% WHC. The trends in Extractable Organic Carbon were opposite to that of cumulative microbial respiration as the moisture levels showing the highest respiration showed the lowest EOC concentration in all soil types. Also, extracellular enzyme activities increased with increase in soil moisture in all soils, however, respiration and EEA showed a decoupled relationship in Ultisol and Alfisol soils. Soil moisture differences did not influence microbial community composition.