Stimulation of ammonia oxidizer and denitrifier abundances by nitrogen loading: Poor predictability for increased soil N2O emission

Yong Zhang, Feng Zhang, Diego Abalos, Yiqi Luo, Dafeng Hui, Bruce A. Hungate, Pablo García-Palacios, Yakov Kuzyakov, Jørgen Eivind Olesen, Uffe Jørgensen, Ji Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Unprecedented nitrogen (N) inputs into terrestrial ecosystems have profoundly altered soil N cycling. Ammonia oxidizers and denitrifiers are the main producers of nitrous oxide (N2O), but it remains unclear how ammonia oxidizer and denitrifier abundances will respond to N loading and whether their responses can predict N-induced changes in soil N2O emission. By synthesizing 101 field studies worldwide, we showed that N loading significantly increased ammonia oxidizer abundance by 107% and denitrifier abundance by 45%. The increases in both ammonia oxidizer and denitrifier abundances were primarily explained by N loading form, and more specifically, organic N loading had stronger effects on their abundances than mineral N loading. Nitrogen loading increased soil N2O emission by 261%, whereas there was no clear relationship between changes in soil N2O emission and shifts in ammonia oxidizer and denitrifier abundances. Our field-based results challenge the laboratory-based hypothesis that increased ammonia oxidizer and denitrifier abundances by N loading would directly cause higher soil N2O emission. Instead, key abiotic factors (mean annual precipitation, soil pH, soil C:N ratio, and ecosystem type) explained N-induced changes in soil N2O emission. Altogether, these findings highlight the need for considering the roles of key abiotic factors in regulating soil N transformations under N loading to better understand the microbially mediated soil N2O emission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2158-2168
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal change biology
Volume28
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Keywords

  • biological and chemical processes
  • denitrification
  • microbial gene abundance
  • nitrification
  • nitrogen addition
  • nitrous oxide
  • precipitation
  • soil pH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Ecology
  • Environmental Science(all)

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