Reciprocal transplant design for decomposition experiment. Microbial cages We followed similar protocols to those described in Treseder et al. Reciprocally transplanted litter Prior to decomposition, litter from the drought plots had significantly higher C:N ratios, concentrations of total C i.
DNA sequencing and annotation For sequencing and annotation, we followed procedures previously described in Berlemont et al [ 8 ]. Fungal hyphal length To compare changes in fungal functional genes with changes in fungal abundance under drought, we measured fungal hyphal length in the same litter samples.
Results Functional genes Direct effect: Plot environment. Fig 3. Frequencies of fungal functional genes related to N acquisition in the reciprocal litter transplant. Fig 4. Frequencies of fungal functional genes related to C acquisition in the reciprocal litter transplant. Indirect effect: Microbial origin. Indirect effect: Litter origin. Fungal hyphal length As with fungal functional genes, plot environment was associated with a significant change in hyphal lengths. Fig 5. Fungal hyphal lengths an index of abundance in litter from a reciprocal transplant.
Discussion We used metagenomic sequencing of the fungal community in decomposing litter to assess how the prevalence of C- and N-targeting functional genes responded to drought Fig 1. Direct effect: Plot environment Drought in the plot environment consistently increased the frequencies of the C- and N-targeting fungal genes we examined Figs 3 and 4. Indirect effect: Microbe origin With respect to the microbe origin treatment, we rejected our hypothesis that over a longer time scale, evolutionary trade-offs should select against fungal genes targeting C and N acquisition in microbial communities exposed to drought.
Indirect effect: Litter origin Litter origin also had no significant effect on frequencies of these fungal C- and N-targeting genes Figs 3 and 4 , even though drought had reduced the availability of cellulose and N in the leaf litter [ 3 ].
Conclusion Altogether, the direct effect of drought in the plot environment on fungal functional genes consistently exceeded any indirect effects via shifts in the microbial community or changes in litter chemistry. Supporting information. S1 Table. Statistical results for functional genes and fungal hyphal length.
Acknowledgments We thank E. References 1. Drought-resistant fungi control soil organic matter decomposition and its response to temperature. Glob Change Biol. View Article Google Scholar 2. Slow turnover and production of fungal hyphae during a Californian dry season. Soil Biol Biochem. View Article Google Scholar 3. Microbial abundance and composition influence litter decomposition response to environmental change.
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