Journal Article

Relationships among plants, soils and microbial communities along a hydrological gradient in the New Jersey Pinelands, USA

Shen Yu and Joan G. Ehrenfeld

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 1, pages 185-196
Published in print January 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online July 2009 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcp183
Relationships among plants, soils and microbial communities along a hydrological gradient in the New Jersey Pinelands, USA

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

Background and Aims

Understanding the role of different components of hydrology in structuring wetland communities is not well developed. A sequence of adjacent wetlands located on a catenary sequence of soils and receiving the same sources and qualities of water is used to examine specifically the role of water-table median position and variability in affecting plant and microbial community composition and soil properties.

Methods

Two replicates of three types of wetland found adjacent to each other along a hydrological gradient in the New Jersey Pinelands (USA) were studied. Plant-community and water-table data were obtained within a 100-m2 plot in each community (pine swamp, maple swamp and Atlantic-white-cedar swamp). Monthly soil samples from each plot were analysed for soil moisture, organic matter, extractable nitrogen fractions, N mineralization rate and microbial community composition. Multivariate ordination methods were used to compare patterns among sites within and between data sets.

Key Results

The maple and pine wetlands were more similar to each other in plant community composition, soil properties and microbial community composition than either was to the cedar swamps. However, maple and pine wetlands differed from each other in water-table descriptors as much as they differed from the cedar swamps. All microbial communities were dominated by Gram-positive bacteria despite hydrologic differences among the sites. Water-table variability was as important as water-table level in affecting microbial communities.

Conclusions

Water tables affect wetland communities through both median level and variability. Differentiation of both plant and microbial communities are not simple transforms of differences in water-table position, even when other hydrologic factors are kept constant. Rather, soil genesis, a result of both water-table position and geologic history, appears to be the main factor affecting plant and microbial community similarities.

Keywords: Forested wetland; hydric soil; wetland hydrology; microbial community; plant community; PLFA; soil moisture; topographic gradient; water table; New Jersey Pinelands

Journal Article.  9009 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.