Seasonal precipitation and soil microbial community influence plant growth response to warming and N addition in a desert steppe

Yi Zhu, Kailiang Yu, Qian Wu, Xu Cheng, Zhiguo Li, Zhongwu Wang, Mengli Zhao, Andreas Wilkes, Ton Bisselling, Guodong Han*, Haiyan Ren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Aims: Global environmental changes are known to affect terrestrial ecosystems functions (i.e., plant growth and carbon storage). However, how plants and soil microorganisms respond to warming and nitrogen deposition in dry ecosystems with strong seasonal precipitation remains largely unexplored. Methods: Based on a 13-year manipulative field experiment, we investigated the effects of warming and nitrogen addition on soil microbial communities and plant net photosynthetic rates during dry and wet months in a desert steppe in Inner Mongolia. Results: We found that in the wet month, warming and nitrogen addition significantly increased soil microbial biomass. Yet, warming and nitrogen addition significantly increased soil inorganic nitrogen and leaf nitrogen concentration, thus promoting an increase in the net photosynthetic rate of Stipa breviflora. Moreover, warming and nitrogen addition significantly shifted soil microbial composition with an increase in soil bacterial phospholipid fatty acids (PLFAs) but a reduction in fungal PLFAs. The increased soil inorganic nitrogen indirectly enhanced leaf nitrogen and plant photosynthesis by changing soil microbial community structure. These changes were not significant in the dry month. Conclusions: Our study indicates that warming and nitrogen addition can promote plant photosynthesis by increasing soil nitrogen availability and changing soil microbial community structure. These changes only occurred when there was sufficient precipitation. These results highlight the crucial role of the soil microbial community and precipitation availability in influencing plant growth responses to global change drivers such as warming and nitrogen deposition. These findings suggest the importance of manipulating multiple factors rather than single factors in global change experiments and the role of plant and soil microbial interactions in ecosystem functions (i.e., plant growth and carbon storage) under global change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-259
JournalPlant and Soil
Volume482
Issue number1-2
Early online date2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Dry ecosystems
  • Global warming
  • Nitrogen deposition
  • Plant-soil-microorganism

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Seasonal precipitation and soil microbial community influence plant growth response to warming and N addition in a desert steppe'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this