Seasonal effect of three desert halophytes on soil microbial functional diversity

Pinhasi Adiv Yocheved, Steinberger Yosef

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of some plant ecophysiological adaptations on soil microbial functional diversity in a Negev Desert ecosystem. Soil samples from the upper 0-10 cm layer were collected at the study site under three species of halophyte shrubs, Zygophyllum dumosum, Hammada scoparia, and Reaumuria negevensis. These halophytes represent the most typical cover of the Negev Desert and each of them develops complex strategies that enable greater adaptation and hence, survival. The microhabitat of the shrubs showed differences in trends and magnitude of organic matter content, electrical conductivity, total soluble nitrogen, microbial functional diversity, and C compound utilization. The trends are assumed to be driven by various mechanisms of shrub adaptation in order to be able to survive the harsh desert environment. This study provides evidence that ecophysiological strategies developed by halophytes force microbial communities (from the point of view of activity, composition, and substrate utilization) to adapt to a beneficial plant-microorganism relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers of Biology in China
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009


  • Desert ecosystem
  • Desert shrubs
  • Ecophysiology
  • Functional diversity
  • Soil biota


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