Soil microbial biomass under the canopy of coastal sand dune shrubs

S. Sarig, A. Fliessbach, Y. Steinberger

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17 Scopus citations


Coastal sand dunes are affected by seasonal fluctuations in salinity due to seawater spray and precipitation. Salinity was found to be very high in summer soil samples and was about 15-20 times lower in the preceding rainy winter. High microbial biomass values of 234.6 and 173.1 mugC g-1 dry soil were found under Artemisia monosperma and Retama raetam, respectively, even at elevated salinity. The metabolic quotient for CO2, which may serve as an indicator for changes in microbial diversity or environmental stress, was unexpectedly high (58.5 and 48.8 mug mg-1 d-1 under A. monosperma and R. raetam, respectively) in low-saline samples from the winter when compared to the summer (a maximal value of 20 mug mg-1 d-1), probably indicating a shift in community structure. It may be concluded that even under hostile conditions in poor sandy soils and with high salinity the presence of perennial shrubs creates favorable niches for microorganisms and affects their activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-80
Number of pages6
JournalArid Soil Research and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Rcieevd 7 Mearch 1997 ; accpteed 3 July 1998. This resarceh was supported by the RseacehrCommittee of Bar-Ilan Univrsityeandbya gantrof theMinistryofScineceadnArs,tIrasel,andbyGSF-ForschungsznterumfuÈ rUmweltundGesundheit GmbH, Neuherberg, Germany (DISUM-029). Special thanks to Ginetta Barness for her skiull ltecfhnical assistance. Address crrospeondence to Prof. Y. Steibnerger, Department ofLiefScnciese,B-Ilanar Ramat Gan 52900, Isral. E-email :


  • Artemisia Monosperma
  • Microbial Biomass
  • Qco2
  • Retama Raetam
  • Salinity


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