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Creators/Authors contains: "Barrett, J. E."

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  1. Abstract

    Land use change has long-term effects on the structure of soil microbial communities, but the specific community assembly processes underlying these effects have not been identified. To investigate effects of historical land use on microbial community assembly, we sampled soils from several currently forested watersheds representing different historical land management regimes (e.g., undisturbed reference, logged, converted to agriculture). We characterized bacterial and fungal communities using amplicon sequencing and used a null model approach to quantify the relative importance of selection, dispersal, and drift processes on bacterial and fungal community assembly. We found that bacterial communities were structured by both selection and neutral (i.e., dispersal and drift) processes, while fungal communities were structured primarily by neutral processes. For both bacterial and fungal communities, selection was more important in historically disturbed soils compared with adjacent undisturbed sites, while dispersal processes were more important in undisturbed soils. Variation partitioning identified the drivers of selection to be changes in vegetation communities and soil properties (i.e., soil N availability) that occur following forest disturbance. Overall, this study casts new light on the effects of historical land use on soil microbial communities by identifying specific environmental factors that drive changes in community assembly.

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  4. Abstract

    Airborne electromagnetic surveys collected in December 2011 and November 2018 and three soil sampling transects were used to analyze the spatial heterogeneity of shallow (<4 m) soil properties in lower Taylor Valley (TV), East Antarctica. Soil resistivities from 2011 to 2018 ranged from ∼33 Ωm to ∼3,500 Ωm with 200 Ωm assigned as an upper boundary for brine‐saturated sediments. Elevations below ∼50 m above sea level (masl) typically exhibit the lowest resistivities with resistivity increasing at high elevations on steeper slopes. Soil water content was empirically estimated from electrical resistivities using Archie's Law and range from ∼<1% to ∼68% by volume. An increase in silt‐ and clay‐sized particles at low elevations increases soil porosity but decreases hydraulic conductivity, promoting greater residence times of soil water at low elevations near Lake Fryxell. Soil resistivity variability between 2011 and 2018 shows soils at different stages of soil freeze‐thaw cycles, which are caused predominantly by solar warming of soils as opposed to air temperature. This study furthers the understanding of the hydrogeologic structure of the shallow subsurface in TV and identifies locations of soils that are potentially prone to greater rates of thaw and resulting ecosystem homogenization of soil properties from projected increases in hydrological connectivity across the region over the coming decades.

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  5. Summary

    Despite the abundance of studies demonstrating the effects of drought on soil microbial communities, the role of land use legacies in mediating these drought effects is unclear. To assess historical land use influences on microbial drought responses, we conducted a drought‐rewetting experiment in soils from two adjacent and currently forested watersheds with distinct land use histories: an undisturbed ‘reference’ site and a ‘disturbed’ site that was clear‐cut and converted to agriculture ~60 years prior. We incubated intact soil cores at either constant moisture or under a drought‐rewet treatment and characterized bacterial and fungal communities using amplicon sequencing throughout the experiment. Bacterial alpha diversity decreased following drought‐rewetting while fungal diversity increased. Bacterial beta diversity also changed markedly following drought‐rewetting, especially in historically disturbed soils, while fungal beta diversity exhibited little response. Additionally, bacterial beta diversity in disturbed soils recovered less from drought‐rewetting compared with reference soils. Disturbed soil communities also exhibited notable reductions in nitrifying taxa, increases in putative r‐selected bacteria, and reductions in network connectivity following drought‐rewetting. Overall, our study reveals historical land use to be important in mediating responses of soil bacterial communities to drought, which will influence the ecosystem‐scale trajectories of these environments under ongoing and future climate change.

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  6. Abstract

    Despite ever‐increasing availability of detailed information about microbial community structure, relationships of microbial diversity with ecosystem functioning remain unclear. We investigated these relationships at the Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, where past forest disturbances (e.g., clear‐cut) have altered both ecosystem processes (e.g., increased N export) and microbial communities (e.g., increased bacterial diversity). We sampled soils from disturbed and adjacent reference forests, characterized resident microbial communities, and measured several microbial C‐cycle and N‐cycle process rates. Microbial communities from historically disturbed soils exhibited altered ecosystem functioning, including generally higher rates of C‐ and N‐cycle processes. Disturbed soil microbial communities also exhibited altered ecosystem multifunctionality, a composite variable consisting of all measured process rates as well as extracellular enzyme activities. Although we found few relationships between ecosystem functions and microbial alpha diversity, all functions were correlated with microbial community composition metrics, particularly r:K strategist ratios of bacterial phyla. Additionally, for both ecosystem multifunctionality and specific processes (i.e., C‐ and N‐mineralization), microbial metrics significantly improved models seeking to explain variation in process rates. Our work sheds light on the links between microbial communities and ecosystem functioning and identifies specific microbial metrics important for modeling ecosystem responses to environmental change.

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  7. The authors examine the effects of 3 interventions designed to support Grades 2–5 children's growth in measuring rectangular regions in different ways. Their findings indicate that creating a complete record of the structure of a 2-dimensional array—by drawing organized rows and columns of equal-sized unit squares—best supported children in conceptualizing how units were built, organized, and coordinated, leading to improved performance. 
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