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This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 59 No. 1, p. 233-240
     
    Received: Jan 14, 1994


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doi:10.2136/sssaj1995.03615995005900010036x

Temperature Effects on Kinetics of Microbial Respiration and Net Nitrogen and Sulfur Mineralization

  1. Neil W. MacDonald ,
  2. Donald R. Zak and
  3. Kurt S. Pregitzer
  1. Dep. of Biology, Grand Valley State Univ., Allendale, MI 49401-9403
    School of Natural Resources and Environment, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1115
    School of Forestry and Wood Products, Michigan Technological Univ., Houghton, MI 49931-1295

Abstract

Abstract

Global climate change may impact the cycling of C, N, and S in forest ecosystems because increased soil temperatures could alter rates of microbially mediated processes. We studied the effects of temperature on microbial respiration and net N and S mineralization in surface soils from four northern hardwood forests in the Great Lakes region. Soil samples were incubated in the laboratory at five temperatures (5, 10, 15, 20, and 25°C) for 32 wk. Headspace gas was analyzed for CO2-C at 2-wk intervals, and soils were extracted to determine inorganic N and S. Cumulative respired C and mineralized N and S increased with temperature at all sites and were strongly related (r2 = 0.67 to 0.90, significant at P = 0.001) to an interaction between temperature and soil organic C. Production of respired C and mineralized N was closely fit by first-order kinetic models (r2 ≥ 0.94, P = 0.001), whereas mineralized S was best described by zero-order kinetics. Contrary to common assumptions, rate constants estimated from the first-order models were not consistently related to temperature, but apparent pool sizes of C and N were highly temperature dependent. Temperature effects on microbial respiration could not be accurately predicted using temperature-adjusted rate constants combined with a constant pool size of labile C. Results suggest that rates of microbial respiration and the mineralization of N and S may be related to a temperature-dependent constraint on microbial access to substrate pools. Simulation models should rely on a thorough understanding of the biological basis underlying microbially mediated C, N, and S transformations in soil.

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