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Variations in the soil microbial community composition of a tropical montane forest ecosystem: Does tree species matter?

Ushio, Masayuki, Wagai, Rota, Balser, Teri C., Kitayama, Kanehiro
Soil biology & biochemistry 2008 v.40 no.10 pp. 2699-2702
tropical forests, forest soils, montane forests, mountain soils, forest ecosystems, soil microorganisms, species diversity, spatial variation, forest trees, species differences, soil pH, soil water content, carbon, nitrogen, phenolic compounds, soil chemistry, Dacrycarpus, Dacrydium, Lithocarpus, Palaquium, biomarkers, Borneo
We investigated tree species effects on the soil microbial community in the tropical montane forest on Mt. Kinabalu, in Malaysian Borneo. We investigated microbial composition (lipid profile) and soil physicochemical parameters (pH, moisture, total C, N and phenolics concentration) in top 5-cm soils underneath two conifers (Dacrycarpus imbricatus and Dacrydium gracilis) and three broad-leaves (Lithocarpus clementianus, Palaquium rioence and Tristaniopsis clementis). We found that the primary difference in microbial composition was between conifer versus broad-leaves. The abundance of specific microbial biomarker lipids correlated with soil pH, total C and N. We conclude that tree species have significant impacts on the soil microbial community through their effects on soil pH, total C and N.