Warmer winters result in reshaping of the European beech forest soil microbiome (bacteria, archaea and fungi) - With potential implications for ecosystem functioning

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In temperate regions, climate warming alters temperature and precipitation regimes. During winter, a decline in insulating snow cover changes the soil environment, where especially frost exposure can have severe implications for soil microorganisms and subsequently for soil nutrient dynamics. Here, we investigated winter climate change responses in European beech forests soil microbiome. Nine study sites with each three treatments (snow exclusion, insolation, and ambient) were investigated. Long-term adaptation to average climate was explored by comparing across sites. Triplicated treatment plots were used to evaluate short-term (one single winter) responses. Community profiles of bacteria, archaea and fungi were created using amplicon sequencing. Correlations between the microbiome, vegetation and soil physicochemical properties were found. We identify core members of the forest-microbiome and link them to key processes, for example, mycorrhizal symbiont and specialized beech wood degraders (fungi) and nitrogen cycling (bacteria, archaea). For bacteria, the shift of the microbiome composition due to short-term soil temperature manipulations in winter was similar to the community differences observed between long-term relatively cold to warm conditions. The results suggest a strong link between the changes in the microbiomes and changes in environmental processes, for example, nitrogen dynamics, driven by variations in winter climate.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number6
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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© 2023 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Applied Microbiology International and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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