microbial community, scrub, fire, community level physiological profiling, Florida
Pyrogenic ecosystems are maintained by fires which vary in frequency, seasonality, and intensity. Florida oak-saw palmetto scrub ecosystem is characterized by fires occurring at intervals of 10-20 years. Diverse factors as private land acquisition and development has created a patchy distribution of scrub ecosystems and also interrupted the natural fire cycle. The effects of fire over plant regeneration and fauna habitat utilization of the scrub have been well characterized in previous research. In the present paper the objective is to characterize the short- and long-term fire effects on the soil microbial community. Fire effects were studied in a chronosequence, comprising a recently burned scrub during a winter-prescribed fire to scrub where fire did not occur for 40 years. The number of culturable cells was reduced by two orders of magnitude by indirect fire effects and environmental factors, principally hydric stress. However, the duration of fire effects was very short since the microbial community returned to pre-fire numbers and activity by day 47 after fire. Microbial community activity was distinctively related to inoculum density in the soil and litter samples. Soil and litter microbial communities showed differences in metabolic activity. There was no difference in substrate utilization pattern, but there was significant seasonal variation related to the decrease in water content during the month of May. Substrate utilization by litter microbial communities was higher during the month of January compared to soil microbial communities and this relationship was inversed during the month of May probably associated to the more stringent conditions, low water availability, on the litter layer. Seasonal effects outweighed fire effects in this study as this environmental constraint determined the microbial community structure and activity.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Albarracin, Maria, "Soil Microbial Community Dynamics In Florida Scrub Ecosystem" (2005). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 273.