Elsevier, Pedobiologia, Volume 69, July 2018
This study assessed the carbon (C) budget and the C stocks in major compartments of the soil food web (bacteria, fungi, protists, nematodes, meso- and macrofauna) in an arable field with/without litter addition. The C stocks in the food web were more than three times higher in topsoil (0–10 cm) compared to subsoil (>40 cm). Microorganisms contained over 95% of food web C, with similar contributions of bacteria and fungi in topsoil. Litter addition did not alter C pools of soil biota after one growing season, except for the increase of fungi and fungal feeding nematodes in the topsoil. However, the C budget for functional groups changed with depth, particularly in the microfauna. This suggests food web resilience to litter amendment in terms of C pool sizes after one growing season. In contrast, the distinct depth dependent pattern indicates specific metacommunities, likely shaped by dominant abiotic and biotic habitat properties.