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Short-term temperature dependence of heterotrophic soil respiration after one-month of pre-incubation at different temperatures

Hamdi, Salwa, Chevallier, Tiphaine, Ben Aïssa, Nadhira, Ben Hammouda, Moncef, Gallali, Tahar, Chotte, Jean-Luc, Bernoux, Martial
Soil biology & biochemistry 2011 v.43 no.9 pp. 1752-1758
soil organic carbon, soil temperature, microbial communities, glucose, heat, microbial biomass, semiarid zones, global warming, soil respiration, soil sampling, microbial activity, Tunisia
Quantification of microbial activities involved in soil organic carbon (SOC) decomposition is critical for the prediction of the long-term impact of climate change on soil respiration (SR) and SOC stock. Although the temperature sensitivity of SR is especially critical in semi-arid regions, such as North West Tunisia, where the SOC stock is low, little research has been carried out in these environments. More needs to be known about factors, such as SOC availability that influence temperature sensitivity. In this study, soil samples were incubated with and without glucose addition for 28 days after a 28-day pre-incubation period. Pre-incubation and incubation was carried out at 20°C, 30°C, 40°C and 50°C. Respiration measurements were taken with temperature, glucose addition and incubation time as independent variables. The highest pre-incubation temperature reduced the temperature sensitivity of SR during the subsequent incubation period, both with and without glucose addition. Soil samples pre-incubated at 50°C had the lowest SR at all subsequent incubation temperatures and the lowest temperature sensitivity of SR, even after glucose addition. However, after glucose addition, the effect of a high pre-incubation temperature on soil respiration lasted only two days. Measuring the water-soluble carbon (WSC) in soil samples suggested that the high pre-incubation temperature may have killed part of the microbial biomass, modified microbial communities or solubilized SOC. For quantifying the possible effect of global warming, in particular heat waves, on soil respiration in the soil studied, the results indicate a moderate response of soil respiration to temperature at high temperatures, as shown by Q₁₀ close to 1.7, even in the range 40–50°C.