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Nitrogen availability decreases prokaryotic diversity in sandy soils.

In this study, the interrelation between nitrogen availability and prokaryotic diversity are studied using a well-characterised system from a long-term field experiment on a loamy sandy soil. The prokaryotic potential functional diversity and community composition were assessed using community-level physiological profiling (CLPP), and their phylogenetic diversity was analysed using polymerase chain reaction-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (PCR-DGGE) in combination with sequencing analysis. Highest prokaryotic potential functional diversity was measured in the control soil receiving no N fertilisation, indicating an efficient as well as versatile utilisation of the substrates in this soil. Both substrate utilisation richness and substrate utilisation evenness, the two constituents of the functional diversity, were decreased with increasing N supply. Furthermore, distinct prokaryotic community compositions were generated in N-enriched soils compared to unfertilised control soils. These differences suggest a dominance of populations adapted to utilising readily available substrates. We demonstrated that the shift in prokaryotic functional diversity was connected to a shift in the phylogenetic structure of the bacterial and archaeal communities. Taken together, our data clearly show that, for the sandy soil system, prokaryotic diversity and N availability were interrelated.

Ruppel, S.; Torsvik, V.; Daae, F.L.; Øvreås, L.; Rühlmann, J. 2007. Nitrogen availability decreases prokaryotic diversity in sandy soils. Biology and Fertility of Soils 43, 449-459.