Carbon budgets of top- and subsoil food webs in an arable system

Elsevier, Pedobiologia, Volume 69, July 2018
Pausch J., Hunninghaus M., Kramer S., Scharroba A., Scheunemann N., Butenschoen O. et al.
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.