Linking soil bacterial biodiversity and soil carbon stability

Rebecca L. Mau, Cindy M. Liu, Maliha Aziz, Egbert Schwartz, Paul Dijkstra, Jane C. Marks, Lance B. Price, Paul Keim, Bruce A. Hungate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


Native soil carbon (C) can be lost in response to fresh C inputs, a phenomenon observed for decades yet still not understood. Using dual-stable isotope probing, we show that changes in the diversity and composition of two functional bacterial groups occur with this 'priming' effect. A single-substrate pulse suppressed native soil C loss and reduced bacterial diversity, whereas repeated substrate pulses stimulated native soil C loss and increased diversity. Increased diversity after repeated C amendments contrasts with resource competition theory, and may be explained by increased predation as evidenced by a decrease in bacterial 16S rRNA gene copies. Our results suggest that biodiversity and composition of the soil microbial community change in concert with its functioning, with consequences for native soil C stability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1477-1480
Number of pages4
JournalISME Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 23 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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