Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Changes in nitrogen functional genes and microbial populations in soil profiles of a peatland under different burning regimes

Allingham, Shaun M.; Drake, Samantha J.; Ramsey, Andrew; Field, Chris D.; Nwaishi, Felix C.; Elliott, David R.

Changes in nitrogen functional genes and microbial populations in soil profiles of a peatland under different burning regimes Thumbnail


Authors

Samantha J. Drake

Andrew Ramsey

Chris D. Field

Felix C. Nwaishi

David R. Elliott



Abstract

Microbes in peatlands provide key ecosystem services and are essential for their role in biogeochemical cycling. Prescribed burning is a common aspect of peatland management but the practice has been criticized for being ecologically damaging due to its effect on the biological, chemical and physical properties of the soil. It is poorly understood how burning affects soil N cycling and previous studies have focused predominantly on the topsoil whilst giving less attention to changes with soil depth. This study investigated the changes of microbial abundance (bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal 18S rRNA) and the abundance of N-cycle functional genes involved in archaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidation (amoA-AOA and amoA-AOB), denitrification (nirK and nirS), N fixation (nifH) and organic N decomposition (chiA) in soil profiles across three burn treatments on a managed peatland landscape (a ‘non-burn’ since 1954 control, 20 years burn interval, and 10 years burn interval). Our results indicate the abundance of bacterial 16S rRNA and fungal 18 s rRNA was affected by burn treatment, soil depth and their interaction and were greater in the non-burn control plots. The abundances of amoA-AOA, amoA-AOB, and nifH were significantly higher in the topsoil of the non-burn control plots while the abundance of nirK was higher in plots subject to short rotation and long rotation burn regimes but also decreased significantly with soil depth. The abundance of nirS was not affected by burn treatment or soil depth. ChiA abundance was affected by burn treatment, soil depth and their interaction. N-cycle functional gene abundance responded differently to environmental factors associated with prescribed burning and varied with soil depth. These findings suggest that the practice of burning affects microbial N turnover potential and provides an important insight into the soil N-cycling potential of peatlands under different burning regimes.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 29, 2024
Online Publication Date May 8, 2024
Publication Date 2024-08
Deposit Date May 14, 2024
Publicly Available Date May 14, 2024
Journal Applied Soil Ecology
Print ISSN 0929-1393
Electronic ISSN 1873-0272
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 200
Article Number 105426
DOI https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2024.105426
Keywords Peatlands; Biogeochemical cycling; Prescribed burning; N cycling; N functioning genes
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/34857142
Publisher URL https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0929139324001574

Files





Downloadable Citations