Temporal and shrub adaptation effect on soil microbial functional diversity in a desert system

V. Saul-Tcherkas, Y. Steinberger

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The Negev Desert is characterized by spatial and temporal patterns of resource distribution, in which soil biota are considered to be among the most sensitive biological characteristics, easily influenced by changes related to soil and abiotic factors. Soil water availability and organic matter are among the most important factors, acting as triggers that determine the length of the period of activity. The main source of organic matter in this xeric environment is input from annual and perennial shrubs. In order to persist and propagate in this xeric environment, the plants have developed different ecophysiological adaptations (e.g. the excretion of salt (Reaumuria negevensis) and chemical compounds (Artemisia sieberi) via the leaves). We found that the values of soil moisture obtained for soil samples collected in the vicinity of R. negevensis were larger than for samples collected in the vicinity of Noaea mucronata and A. sieberi and in the open area. The maximum values of CO2 evolution, microbial biomass and Shannon index (H′) were obtained for the samples collected from the vicinity of N. mucronata. Therefore, we assume that the vicinity of N. mucronata afforded the best conditions for the soil bacterial community. In the Negev Desert, we also found that water availability and pulses of rain compared with frequent rainfall influenced CO2 evolution, microbial biomass, qCO2 and the Shannon index (H′). The differences in water amount and availability between the two rainy seasons caused larger values in most of the properties during the first four seasons (December 2005-November 2006) compared with the last four seasons (December 2006-November 2007) for most of the samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)871-882
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2009


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