Microbial membranes related to the thermal acclimation of soil heterotrophic respiration in a temperate steppe in northern China

Ruichang Shen, Ming Xu, Yonggang Chi, Shen Yu, Shiqiang Wan, Nianpeng He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There has been an active debate among ecologists about the mechanisms of ephemeral response of soil respiration to climate change. The key questions are whether soil microbes would reduce their physiological rates (thermal acclimation) under a warmer temperature regime,and what are the mechanisms. Using a long-term warming field experiment, we explored the thermal acclimation of soil heterotrophic respiration (Rh) in a temperate steppe ecosystem in Inner Mongolia, China. A thermal acclimation mechanism, namely change in lipid composition of soil microbes, was also tested in this study. Our results showed that 6 years of warming treatment had significantly decreased soil mass-specific respiration (substrate Rmass), indicating soil Rh would acclimate to long-term warming. In addition, we found that this thermal acclimation presented type II acclimation, because experimental warming significantly decreased substrate Rmass but not the Q10 values. Furthermore, we also found that long-term experimental warming had already increased the carbon numbers of the fatty acids in soil microbial membranes at the community level. In summary, our results indicated that soil Rh could acclimate to global warming via modifying cell membrane constitutions and these mechanisms would play vital roles in the near future. Highlights: Soil heterotrophic respiration (Rh) acclimated to long-term warming in a steppe ecosystem. Soil Rh followed type II acclimation as warming decreased substrate Rmass but did not change Q10. Experimental warming increased the carbon number of the fatty acids in soil microbial membranes. Soil Rh can acclimate to global warming via shifting the lipid constitute of microbial membrane.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-494
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Volume71
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science

Keywords

  • carbon cycle
  • fatty acid
  • global warming
  • soil heterotrophic respiration
  • soil microbial community
  • thermal acclimation

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