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  1. Abstract

    Ectomycorrhizal (EM) associations can promote the dominance of tree species in otherwise diverse tropical forests. These EM associations between trees and their fungal mutualists have important consequences for soil organic matter cycling, yet the influence of these EM-associated effects on surrounding microbial communities is not well known, particularly in neotropical forests. We examined fungal and prokaryotic community composition in surface soil samples from mixed arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) and ectomycorrhizal (EM) stands as well as stands dominated by EM-associatedOreomunnea mexicana(Juglandaceae) in four watersheds differing in soil fertility in the Fortuna Forest Reserve, Panama. We hypothesized that EM-dominated stands would support distinct microbial community assemblages relative to the mixed AM-EM stands due to differences in carbon and nitrogen cycling associated with the dominance of EM trees. We expected that this microbiome selection in EM-dominated stands would lead to lower overall microbial community diversity and turnover, with tighter correspondence between general fungal and prokaryotic communities. We measured fungal and prokaryotic community composition via high-throughput Illumina sequencing of theITS2(fungi) and16SrRNA (prokaryotic) gene regions. We analyzed differences in alpha and beta diversity between forest stands associated with different mycorrhizal types, as well as the relative abundance of fungal functional groups and various microbial taxa. We found that fungal and prokaryotic community composition differed based on stand mycorrhizal type. There was lower prokaryotic diversity and lower relative abundance of fungal saprotrophs and pathogens in EM-dominated than AM-EM mixed stands. However, contrary to our prediction, there was lower homogeneity for fungal communities in EM-dominated stands compared to mixed AM-EM stands. Overall, we demonstrate that EM-dominated tropical forest stands have distinct soil microbiomes relative to surrounding diverse forests, suggesting that EM fungi may filter microbial functional groups in ways that could potentially influence plant performance or ecosystem function.

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  2. Abstract

    Forest stands dominated by ectomycorrhizal (ECM) associated trees often have more closed nitrogen (N) cycling than stands dominated by arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) associated trees, with slower N mineralization in ECM stands thought to suppress inorganic N cycling. However, most estimates of N mineralization come from measurements of net processes, which can lead to an incomplete view of ecosystem N retention and loss. To explore the mechanisms driving mycorrhizal N cycling syndromes, we measured gross N production and assimilation rates and net and potential N flux rates in paired N addition (from NH4SO4and NaNO3) and control plots within ECM and AM-dominated stands. We observed greater gross N mineralization and microbial ammonium assimilation in ECM compared to AM stands, suggesting that increased microbial N demand drove lower net N mineralization rates in ECM stands. We found lower nitrification rates in ECM compared to AM stands and no effect of N addition on nitrification in ECM stands. Therefore, the low soil pH or high C:N ratios found in those stands, not limited ammonium supply, may have suppressed nitrification. Finally, potential denitrification rates and nitrous oxide fluxes were lower in ECM compared to AM stands with no effect of N addition, suggesting that denitrification is controlled by the endogenous supply of nitrate from nitrification, not exogenous nitrate inputs. Overall, we conclude that N mineralization may not play a central role in forming mycorrhizal nutrient syndromes, and that acidic conditions in ECM stands may ultimately control nitrification and the potential for ecosystem N loss.

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  3. Introduction Alliaria petiolata (garlic mustard), an invasive forest herb in North America, often alters nutrient availability in its non-native ecosystems, but the mechanisms driving these changes have yet to be determined. We hypothesized three potential mechanisms through which garlic mustard could directly influence soil nitrogen (N) cycling: by increasing soil pH, by modifying soil microbial community composition, and by altering nutrient availability through litter inputs. Materials and methods To test these hypotheses, we evaluated garlic mustard effects on soil pH and other soil properties; fungal and prokaryotic (bacterial and archaeal) community composition; and soil N cycling rates (gross N mineralization and nitrification rates, microbial N assimilation rates, and nitrification- versus denitrification-derived nitrous oxide fluxes); and we assessed correlations among these variables. We collected soil samples from garlic mustard present, absent, and removed treatments in eight forests in central Illinois, United States, during the rosette, flowering, and senescence phenological stages of garlic mustard life cycle. Results We found that garlic mustard increased soil pH, altered fungal and prokaryotic communities, and increased rates of N mineralization, nitrification, nitrification-derived net N2O emission. Significant correlations between soil pH and microbial community composition suggest that garlic mustard effects on soil pH could both directly and indirectly influence soil N cycling rates. Discussion Correspondence of gross rates of N mineralization and nitrification with microbial community composition suggest that garlic mustard modification of soil microbial communities could directly lead to changes in soil N cycling. We had expected that early season, nutrient-rich litter inputs from mortality of young garlic mustard could accelerate gross N mineralization and microbial N assimilation whereas late season, nutrient poorer litter inputs from senesced garlic mustard could suppress N mineralization, but we did not observe these patterns in support of the litter input mechanism. Together, our results elucidate how garlic mustard effects on soil pH and microbial community composition can accelerate soil N cycling to potentially contribute to the invasion success of garlic mustard. 
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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  5. Abstract

    Accurately quantifying and predicting the reactive transport of nitrate () in hydrologic systems continues to be a challenge, due to the complex hydrological and biogeochemical interactions that underlie this transport. Recent advances related to time‐variant water age have led to a new method that probes water mixing and selection behaviors using StorAge Selection (SAS) functions. In this study, SAS functions were applied to investigate storage, water selection behaviors, and export regimes in a tile‐drained corn‐soybean field. The natural abundance stable nitrogen and oxygen isotopes of tile drainage were also measured to provide constraints on biogeochemical transformations. The SAS functions, calibrated using chloride measurements at tile drain outlets, revealed a strong young water preference during tile discharge generation. The use of a time‐variant SAS function for tile discharge generated unique water age dynamics that reveal an inverse storage effect driven by the activation of preferential flow paths and mechanically explain the observed variations in isotopes. Combining the water age estimates with isotope fingerprinting shed new light on export dynamics at the tile‐drain scale, where a large mixing volume and the lack of a strong vertical contrast in concentration resulted in chemostatic export regimes. For the first time, isotopes were embedded into a water age‐based transport model to model reactive transport under transient conditions. The results of this modeling study provided a proof‐of‐concept for the potential of coupling water age modeling with isotope analysis to elucidate the mechanisms driving reactive transport.

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  8. Topographic depressions in upland soils experience anaerobic conditions conducive for iron (Fe) reduction following heavy rainfall. These depressional areas can also accumulate reactive Fe compounds, carbon (C), and nitrate, creating potential hot spots of Fe-mediated carbon dioxide (CO2) and nitrous oxide (N2O) production. While there are multiple mechanisms by which Fe redox reactions can facilitate CO2 and N2O production, it is unclear what their cumulative effect is on CO2 and N2O emissions in depressional soils under dynamic redox. We hypothesized that Fe reduction and oxidation facilitate greater CO2 and N2O emissions in depressional compared to upslope soils in response to flooding. To test this, we amended upslope and depressional soils with Fe(II), Fe(III), or labile C and measured CO2 and N2O emissions in response to flooding. We found that depressional soils have greater Fe reduction potential, which can contribute to soil CO2 emissions during flooded conditions when C is not limiting. Additionally, Fe(II) addition stimulated N2O production, suggesting that chemodenitrification may be an important pathway of N2O production in depressions that accumulate Fe(II). As rainfall intensification results in more frequent flooding of depressional upland soils, Fe-mediated CO2 and N2O production may become increasingly important pathways of soil greenhouse gas emissions. 
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