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Litter traits and rainfall reduction alter microbial litter decomposers: the evidence from three Mediterranean forests

Abstract : The objective of the study was to evaluate changes in microbial communities with the predicted arrival of new species to Mediterranean forests under projected intensification of water stress conditions. For that, litter from three Mediterranean forests dominated respectively by Quercus pubescens Willd., Quercus ilex L. and Pinus halepensis Mill. were collected, and placed to their ‘home’ forest but also to the two other forests under natural and amplified drought conditions (i.e. rainfall reduction of 30%). Quantitative PCR showed that overall, actinobacteria and total bacteria were more abundant in Q. pubescens and Q. ilex than in P. halepensis litter. However, the abundance of both groups was dependent on the forest sites: placement of allochthonous litter to Q. pubescens and P. halepensis forests (i.e. P. halepensis and Q. pubescens, respectively) increased bacterial and fungal abundances, while no effect was observed in Q. ilex forest. P. halepensis litter in Q. pubescens and Q. ilex forests significantly reduced actinobacteria (A/F) and total bacteria (B/F) to fungi ratios. The reduction of rainfall did not influence actinobacteria and bacteria but caused an increase of fungi. As a result, a reduction of A/F ratio is expected with the plant community change towards the dominance of spreading P. halepensis under amplified drought conditions.
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S Pereira, A Burešová, J Kopecky, P Mádrová, A. Aupic-Samain, et al.. Litter traits and rainfall reduction alter microbial litter decomposers: the evidence from three Mediterranean forests. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, Wiley-Blackwell, 2019, 95 (12), ⟨10.1093/femsec/fiz168⟩. ⟨hal-02456565⟩

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