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Responses Of Soil Microbial Biomass And Community Composition To Biological Soil Crusts In The Revegetated Areas Of The Tengger Desert

Yongding Liu, Xin-rong Li, Zisheng Xing, X. Zhao, Yan-xia Pan
Published 2013 · Environmental Science

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Abstract As a key component of desert ecosystems, biological soil crusts (BSCs) play an important role in dune fixation and maintaining soil biota. Soil microbial properties associated with the colonization and development of BSCs may indicate soil quality changes, particularly following dune stabilization. However, very little is known about the influence of BSCs on soil microbes in sand dunes. We examined the influence of BSCs on soil microbial biomass and community composition in revegetated areas of the Tengger Desert. BSCs increased soil microbial biomass (biomass C and N), microbial phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) concentrations and the ratio of fungal to bacterial PLFAs. The effects varied with crust type and crust age. Moss crusts had higher microbial biomass and microbial PLFA concentrations than cyanobacteria-lichen crusts. Crust age was positively correlated with microbial biomass C and N, microbial PLFA concentrations, bacterial PLFA concentrations, fungal PLFA concentrations and the ratio of fungal to bacterial PLFAs. BSCs significantly affected microbial biomass C and N in the 0–20 cm soil layers, showing a significant negative correlation with soil depth. The study demonstrated that the colonization and development of BSCs was beneficial for soil microbial properties and soil quality in the revegetated areas. This can be attributed to BSCs increasing topsoil thickness after dunes have been stabilized, creating suitable habitats and providing an essential food source for soil microbes.
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