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Long-term and realistic global change manipulations had low impact on diversity of soil biota in temperate heathland

Journal article
Authors Martin Holmstrup
Christian Damgaard
Inger K Schmidt
Marie F Arndal
Claus Beier
Teis N Mikkelsen
Per Ambus
Klaus S Larsen
Kim Pilegaard
Anders Michelsen
Louise C. Andresen
Merian Haugwitz
Lasse Bergmark
Anders Priemé
Andrey S. Zaitsev
Slavka Georgieva
Marie Dam
Mette Vestergård
Søren Christensen
Published in Scientific Reports
Volume 7
ISSN 2045-2322
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Earth Sciences
Language en
Subject categories Terrestrial ecology


In a dry heathland ecosystem we manipulated temperature (warming), precipitation (drought) and atmospheric concentration of CO2 in a full-factorial experiment in order to investigate changes in below-ground biodiversity as a result of future climate change. We investigated the responses in community diversity of nematodes, enchytraeids, collembolans and oribatid mites at two and eight years of manipulations. We used a structural equation modelling (SEM) approach analyzing the three manipulations, soil moisture and temperature, and seven soil biological and chemical ariables. The analysis revealed a persistent and positive effect of elevated CO2 on litter C:N ratio. After two years of treatment, the fungi to bacteria ratio was increased by warming, and the diversities within oribatid mites, collembolans and nematode groups were all affected by elevated CO2 mediated through increased litter C:N ratio. After eight years of treatment, however, the CO2-increased litter C:N ratio did not influence the diversity in any of the four fauna groups. The number of significant correlations between treatments, food source quality, and soil biota diversities was reduced from six to three after two and eight years, respectively. These results suggest a remarkable resilience within the soil biota against global climate change treatments in the long term.

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