Soil microbial responses to experimental warming and nitrogen addition in a temperate steppe of Northern China

Rui Chang Shen, Ming Xu, Yong Gang Chi, Shen Yu, Shi Qiang Wan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

21 Scopus citations


The responses of soil microbes to global warming and nitrogen enrichment can profoundly affect terrestrial ecosystem functions and the ecosystem feedbacks to climate change. However, the interactive effect of warming and nitrogen enrichment on soil microbial community is unclear. In this study, individual and interactive effects of experimental warming and nitrogen addition on the soil microbial community were investigated in a long-term field experiment in a temperate steppe of northern China. The field experiment started in 2006 and soils were sampled in 2010 and analyzed for phospholipid fatty acids to characterize the soil microbial communities. Some soil chemical properties were also determined. Five-year experimental warming significantly increased soil total microbial biomass and the proportion of Gram-negative bacteria in the soils. Long-term nitrogen addition decreased soil microbial biomass at the 0-10 cm soil depth and the relative abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in the soils. Little interactive effect on soil microbes was detected when experimental warming and nitrogen addition were combined. Soil microbial biomass positively correlated with soil total C and N, but basically did not relate to the soil C/N ratio and pH. Our results suggest that future global warming or nitrogen enrichment may significantly change the soil microbial communities in the temperate steppes in northern China.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)427-436
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Soil Science


  • Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
  • Global warming
  • Gram-negative bacteria
  • Microbial biomass
  • Microbial community
  • Nitrogen enrichment

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