Canadian Forest Service Publications

Microbial activity across a boreal peatland nutrient gradient: the role of fungi and bacteria. 2012. Myers, B.; Webster, K.L.; Mclaughlin, J.W.; Basiliko, N. Wetlands Ecology and Management 20:77-88.

Year: 2012

Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33545

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1007/s11273-011-9242-2

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Microbes involved in decomposition within peatlands and the conditions that influence their activities have implications for C and greenhouse gas exchange. The objectives of this research were to characterize the role of fungal and bacterial activities in peatlands using selective antibiotic inhibition techniques across a nutrient gradient (rich to poor fens) and to search for environmental controls on the activity of each group. Bacterial activities predominated across a range of rich to poor boreal peatlands in central Ontario, Canada, although fungal activity became increasingly important in the poor sites. Linkages between soil pH and nutrient status and fungal and bacterial activities were found. However, they did not confirm our initial hypotheses that bacterial activity would be low in poor sites due to proton stress and low nutrient (particularly N) availability, whereas, fungal activity would be low in rich sites due to increased competitive ability of bacteria under near neutral pH conditions and high nutrient availability. Further work across these sites aimed at characterizing the phylogeny of the rhizosphere fungi is needed to determine if increased presence of mycorrhizae in poor sites could have explained our observed patterns. However, regardless of fungal: bacterial activity ratio differences across sites and its associated controls, microbial C02 production rates across fen types did not vary significantly, suggesting that the proportion of bacteria and fungi may not matter to broader carbon cycling and greenhouse gas emissions in peat soils.