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There's no place like home? : An exploration of the mechanisms behind plant litter-decomposer affinity in terrestrial ecosystems

Por: Austin, A. T.
Colaborador(es): Vivanco, L | González Arzac, A | Pérez, L. I.
ISSN: 1469-8137.Tipo de material: Artículos y capítulos. Recurso electrónico.Tema(s): CARBON CYCLING | ECOSYSTEM ECOLOGY | HOME-FIELD ADVANTAGE [HFA] | LEAF LITTER VOLATILES | LITTER DECOMPOSITION | PLANT PATHOGENS | SOIL FAUNA | SOIL MICROBIAL COMMUNITY | Recursos en línea: Haga clic para acceso en línea | LINK AL EDITOR. En: New Phytologist Vol. 204, no. 2 (2014) 307-314Resumen: Litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems is an important first step for carbon and nutrient cycling, as senescent plant material is degraded and consequently incorporated, along with microbial products, into soil organic matter. The identification of litter affinity effects, whereby decomposition is accelerated in its home environment [home-field advantage, HFA], highlights the importance of plant-soil interactions that have consequences for biogeochemical cycling. While not universal, these affinity effects have been identified in a range of ecosystems, particularly in forests without disturbance. The optimization of the local decomposer community to degrade a particular combination of litter traits is the most oft-cited explanation for HFA effects, but the ways in which this specialized community can develop are only beginning to be understood. We explore ways in which HFA, or more broadly litter affinity effects, could arise in terrestrial ecosystems. Plant-herbivore interactions, microbial symbiosis, legacies from phyllosphere communities and attractors of specific soil fauna could contribute to spatially defined affinity effects for litter decomposition. Pyrosequencing soil communities and functional linkages of soil fauna provide great promise in advancing our mechanistic understanding of these interactions, and could lead to a greater appreciation of the role of litter-decomposer affinity in the maintenance of soil functional diversity.
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Litter decomposition in terrestrial ecosystems is an important first step for carbon and nutrient cycling, as senescent plant material is degraded and consequently incorporated, along with microbial products, into soil organic matter. The identification of litter affinity effects, whereby decomposition is accelerated in its home environment [home-field advantage, HFA], highlights the importance of plant-soil interactions that have consequences for biogeochemical cycling. While not universal, these affinity effects have been identified in a range of ecosystems, particularly in forests without disturbance. The optimization of the local decomposer community to degrade a particular combination of litter traits is the most oft-cited explanation for HFA effects, but the ways in which this specialized community can develop are only beginning to be understood. We explore ways in which HFA, or more broadly litter affinity effects, could arise in terrestrial ecosystems. Plant-herbivore interactions, microbial symbiosis, legacies from phyllosphere communities and attractors of specific soil fauna could contribute to spatially defined affinity effects for litter decomposition. Pyrosequencing soil communities and functional linkages of soil fauna provide great promise in advancing our mechanistic understanding of these interactions, and could lead to a greater appreciation of the role of litter-decomposer affinity in the maintenance of soil functional diversity.

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