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Biogeochemical responses to nutrient, moisture and temperature manipulations of soil from Signy Island, South Orkney Islands in the Maritime Antarctic

Lookup NU author(s): Victoria Ord, Professor Stephen Rushton, Professor Anthony O'Donnell


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We have investigated how the microbially-driven processes of carbon (C) mineralization (respiration) and nitrogen (N) mineralization/immobilization in a soil from the northern Maritime Antarctic respond to differences in water availability (20% and 80% water-holding capacity) and temperature (5 degrees C and 15 degrees C) in the presence and absence of different organic substrates (2 mg C as either glucose, glycine or tryptone soy broth (TSB) powder (a complex microbial growth medium)) in a controlled laboratory experiment over 175 days. Soil respiration and N mineralization/immobilization in the presence of a C-rich substrate (glucose) increased with increases in water and temperature. These factors were influential individually and had an additive effect when applied together. For the N-rich substrates (glycine and TSB), microbial responses to increased water or temperature alone were weak or not significant, but these factors interacted to give significantly positive increases when applied together. These data indicate that under the expected changes in environmental conditions in the Maritime Antarctic, where temperature and the availability of water and organic substrates will probably increase, soil microbial activity will lead to more rapid C and N cycling and have a positive feedback on these biogeochemical processes, particularly where or when these factors increase concurrently.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Sun BH, Dennis PG, Laudicina VA, Ord VJ, Rushton SP, O'Donnell AG, Newsham KK, Hopkins DW

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Antarctic Science

Year: 2014

Volume: 26

Issue: 5

Pages: 513-520

Print publication date: 01/10/2014

Online publication date: 10/03/2014

Acceptance date: 13/12/2013

ISSN (print): 0954-1020

ISSN (electronic): 1365-2079

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0954102014000030


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Funder referenceFunder name
AFI 7/05UK Natural Environment Research Council through the Antarctic Funding Initiative
B12007Chinese 111 Project
NE/D00893X/1UK Natural Environment Research Council through the Antarctic Funding Initiative