Biodiversity Science ›› 2018, Vol. 26 ›› Issue (10): 1116-1126.doi: 10.17520/biods.2018130

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Effects of oasis expansion regimes on ecosystem function and dominant functional groups of soil biota in arid regions

Jiliang Liu1, 2, Fengrui Li1, 2, *()   

  1. 1 Linze Inland River Basin Research Station, Northwest Institute of Eco-Environment and Resources, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000
    2 Key Laboratory of Eco-hydrology of Inland River Basin, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Lanzhou 730000
  • Received:2018-04-28 Accepted:2018-06-20 Online:2019-01-06
  • Li Fengrui
  • About author:# Co-first authors

Rapid human populations growth in inland arid regions of northwestern China has resulted in rapid oasis expansion, mainly through transforming natural grasslands to arable land, afforested forest and shrub plantations. However, little is known about how different oasis expansion regimes affect soil biodiversity and ecosystem function. In this study, we measured the abundance of nine dominant functional groups of soil biota across multiple trophic levels, including soil macrofauna (oligochaetes, ants, predatory arthropods and herbivorous insects), soil mesofauna decomposers (Oribatida and Collembola) and soil microbial decomposers (bacteria and fungi) in natural grasslands (NG), arable lands (AL), tree (Populus gansuensis) plantations (TP) and shrub (Haloxylon ammodendron) plantations (SP). The study was performed in Zhangye Oasis in the middle reaches of the Heihe River Basin in northwestern China. We measured the contents of soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP), as well as the activities of four soil enzymes (catalase, urease, sucrase and phosphatase). The results showed the following important findings. First, the land conversion of NG to SP significantly lowered the abundance of Oribatida and herbivorous insects, while increasing the abundance of Collembola, predatory mites and fungal OTU numbers. However, converting NG to TP significantly increased the abundance of predatory arthropods, herbivorous insects, Collembola, Oribatida, predatory mites and numbers of both bacterial OTUs and fungal OTUs, whereas converting NG to AL significantly increased the abundance of all the above plus oligochaetes. Second, converting NG to either TP or SP significantly enhanced SOC and TN stocks, whereas converting NG to AL significantly enhanced the above plus TP stocks. Finally, converting NG to either SP, TP or AL significantly enhanced the activities of catalase, urease, sucrase and phosphatase, but these four soil enzymes show significantly higher activity in AL and TP sites with irrigation than in SP sites without irrigation. Our results suggest that different oasis expansion regimes significantly and differentially affect the structure and diversity of the desert soil food web, which in turn, cascades down to ecosystem functioning. Understanding the responses of both different soil food web components and of different ecological function variables to changes in land use and management level is essential for developing novel and more effective strategies for oasis ecosystem management in arid regions worldwide. Overall, this study provided key insights into the assessment of the functional stability of the oasis ecosystem.

Key words: inland arid regions, oasis expansion, land use change, soil biota, soil food web structure, ecosystem functioning

Fig. 1

The effects of converting natural grasslands (NG) to shrub plantations (SP), tree plantations (TP) and arable lands (AL) on the density and relative abundance of oligochaetes, Formicidae, predatory arthropods and herbivorous insects. Means (± SE) with different capital letters indicate significant difference in the density of different groups between habitats (P < 0.05), means (± SE) with different lower-case letters indicate significant difference in the relative abundance of different groups between habitats (P < 0.05)."

Fig. 2

The effects of converting natural grasslands (NG) to shrub plantations (SP), tree plantations (TP) and arable lands (AL) on the density and relative abundance of Collembola, Oribatida and predatory mites. Means (± SE) with different capital letters indicate significant difference in the density of different groups between habitats (P < 0.05), means (± SE) with different lower-case letters indicate significant difference in the relative abundance of different groups between habitats (P < 0.05)."

Fig. 3

The effects of converting natural grasslands (NG) to shrub plantations (SP), tree plantations (TP), and arable lands (AL) on the OTUs of bacteria and fungi as well as the ratio of bacteria and fungi. Means (± SE) with different letters indicate significant differences between habitats (P < 0.05)."

Fig. 4

The effects of converting natural grasslands (NG) to shrub plantations (SP), tree plantations (TP) and arable lands (AL) on the soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) stocks. Means (± SE) with different letters indicate significant differences between habitats (P < 0.05)."

Fig. 5

The effects of converting natural grasslands (NG) to shrub plantations (SP), tree plantations (TP) and arable lands (AL) on the activities of soil catalase, urease, sucrase and phosphatase. Means (± SE) with different letters indicate significant difference between habitats (P < 0.05)."

Fig. 6

The responses of nine dominant soil organism groups to changes in environmental factors. Pearson’s correlations between the diversity of nine dominant soil organism groups and eight environmental variables such as soil moisture content (SMC), soil pH, soil electrical conductivity (EC), soil organic carbon (SOC), total nitrogen (TN), total phosphorus (TP), aboveground herbaceous biomass (AHP), and herbaceous species richness (HSR). The overall effect of the eight selected environmental variables on variation in nine dominant soil organism groups was determined by multiple regression analyses. *** P < 0.001, ** P < 0.01, * P < 0.05, + P < 0.1, n.s. P > 0.1."

[41] Rusek J (1998) Biodiversity of Collembola and their functional role in the ecosystem. Biodiversity and Conservations, 7, 1207-1219.
[42] Shi LL, Fu SL (2014) Review of soil biodiversity research: History, current status and future challenges. Chinese Science Bulletin, 59, 493-509. (in Chinese)
[时雷雷, 傅声雷 (2014) 土壤生物多样性研究: 历史、现状与挑战. 科学通报, 59, 493-509.]
[43] Siepel H, Maaskamp F (1994) Mites of different feeding guilds affect decomposition of organic matter. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 26, 1389-1394.
[44] Song DX, Zhu MS, Chen J (1999) The Spiders of China. Hebei Science & Technology Publishing House, Shijiazhuang.
[45] Tripathi BM, Moroenyane I, Sherman C, Lee YK, Adams JM, Steinberger Y (2017) Trends in taxonomic and functional composition of soil microbiome along a precipitation gradient in Israel. Microbial Ecology, 74, 168-176.
[46] Wagg C, Bender SF, Widmer F, van der Heijden MGA (2014) Soil biodiversity and soil community composition determine ecosystem multifunctionality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 111, 5266-5270.
[47] Whitford WG, Parker LW (1989) Contributions of soil fauna to decomposition and mineralization processes in semiarid and arid ecosystems. Arid Land Research and Management, 3, 199-215.
[1] Abliz O, Nurmammat G, Tursuna A, Hajim M, Wu SL (2013) Community diversity and its seasonal dynamics of soil fauna in Fukang oasis of Xinjiang, Northwest China. Chinese Journal of Ecology, 32, 1412-1420. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[吾玛尔·阿布力孜, 古丽布斯坦·努尔买买提, 阿布都肉苏力·吐孙, 木开热木·阿吉木, 吴松林 (2013) 新疆阜康绿洲不同生境土壤动物群落多样性及其季节动态. 生态学杂志, 32, 1412-1420.]
[48] Xie YW, Wang GS (2014) Reconstruction of historic spatial pattern for water resources utilization in the Heihe River basin. Geographical Research, 33, 1977-1991. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[颉耀文, 汪桂生 (2014) 黑河流域历史时期水资源利用空间格局重建. 地理研究, 33, 1977-1991.]
[2] Bardgett RD, van der Putten WH (2014) Belowground biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Nature, 515, 505-511.
[3] Brockett BFT, Prescott CE, Grayston SJ (2010) Soil moisture is the major factor influencing microbial community structure and enzyme activities across seven biogeoclimatic zones in western Canada. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 44, 9-20.
[4] Cai WZ, Pang XF, Hua BZ, Liang GW, Song DL (2011) General Entomology, 2nd edn. China Agricultural University Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
[彩万志, 庞雄飞, 花保祯, 梁广文, 宋敦伦 (2011) 普通昆虫学(第2版). 中国农业大学出版社, 北京.]
[49] Yin WY (1998) Pictorial Keys to Soil Animals of China. Science Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
[尹文英 (1998) 中国土壤动物检索图鉴. 科学出版社, 北京.]
[5] Chen FH, Huang W, Jin LY, Chen JH, Wang JS (2011) Spatiotemporal precipitation variations in the arid Central Asia in the context of global warming. Science China Earth Sciences, 54, 1812-1821.
[6] Chen YN, Chen ZS (2013) Analysis of oasis evolution and suitable development scale for arid regions: A case study of the Tarim River Basin. Chinese Journal of Eco-Agriculture, 21, 134-140. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[陈亚宁, 陈忠升 (2013) 干旱区绿洲演变与适宜发展规模研究: 以塔里木河流域为例. 中国生态农业学报, 21, 134-140.]
[7] Cheng GD, Li X, Zhao WZ, Xu ZM, Feng Q, Xiao SC, Xiao HL (2014) Integrated study of the water-ecosystem-economy in the Heihe River Basin. National Science Review, 1, 413-428.
[8] Darby BJ, Neher DA, Housman DC, Belnap J (2011) Few apparent short-term effects of elevated soil temperature and increased frequency of summer precipitation on the abundance and taxonomic diversity of desert soil micro- and meso-fauna. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 43, 1474-1481.
[9] De Groot GA, Jagers op Akkerhuis GAJM, Dimmers WJ, Charrier X, Faber JH (2016) Biomass and diversity of soil mite functional groups respond to intensification of land management, potentially affecting soil ecosystem services. Frontiers in Environmental Science, 4, 15.
[50] Zhang WX, Chen DM, Zhao CC (2007) Functions of earthworm in ecosystem. Biodiversity Science, 15, 142-153. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[张卫信, 陈迪马, 赵灿灿 (2007) 蚯蚓在生态系统中的作用. 生物多样性, 15, 142-153.]
[10] De Vries FT, Thébault E, Liiri M, Birkhofer K, Tsiafouli MA, Bjørnlund L, Jørgensen HB, Brady MV, Christensen S, de Ruiter PC, d’Hertefeldt T, Frouz J, Hedlund K, Hemerik L, Hol WHG, Hotes S, Mortimer SR, Setälä H, Sgardelis SP, Uteseny K, van der Putten WH, Wolters V, Bardgett RD (2013) Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 110, 14296-14301.
[11] Delgado-Baquerizo M, Eldridge DJ, Ochoa V, Gozalo B, Singh BK, Maestre FT (2017) Soil microbial communities drive the resistance of ecosystem multifunctionality to global change in drylands across the globe. Ecology Letters, 20, 1295-1305.
[51] Zhao WZ, Yang R, Liu B, Yang QY, Li F (2016) Oasification of northwestern China: A review. Journal of Desert Research, 36, 1-5. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[赵文智, 杨荣, 刘冰, 杨淇越, 李芳 (2016) 中国绿洲化及其研究进展. 中国沙漠, 36, 1-5.]
[12] Delgado-Baquerizo M, Maestre FT, Reich PB, Jeffries TC, Gaitan JJ, Encinar D, Berdugo M, Campbell CD, Singh BK (2016) Microbial diversity drives multifunctionality in terrestrial ecosystems. Nature Communications, 7, 10541.
[13] Filser J, Fromm H, Nagel RF, Winter K (1995) Effects of previous intensive agricultural management on microorganisms and the biodiversity of soil fauna. Plant and Soil, 170, 123-129.
[14] Gong J, Qian DW, Zhang LL, Xie YC, Gao YJ (2016) Spatiotemporal change of oasis/desert land and its landscape response in Linze County in recent 35 years. Arid Zone Research, 33, 805-813. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[巩杰, 钱大文, 张玲玲, 谢余初, 高彦净 (2016) 近35 a 临泽县绿洲-荒漠土地变化及其景观响应. 干旱区研究, 33, 805-813.]
[52] Zheng LY, Gui H (1999) Classification of Insects in China. Nanjing Normal University Publishing House, Nanjing. (in Chinese)
[郑乐怡, 归鸿 (1999) 昆虫分类. 南京师范大学出版社, 南京.]
[15] Guan PT, Zhang XK, Yu J, Cheng YY, Li Q, Andriuzzi WS, Liang WJ (2018) Soil microbial food web channels associated with biological soil crusts in desertification restoration: The carbon flow from microbes to nematodes. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 116, 82-90.
[16] Guan SY (1986)Soil Enzyme and Its Research Methods. Agriculture Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
[关松荫 (1986) 土壤酶及其研究法. 农业出版社, 北京.]
[17] Han DL (1999) The process of research on oasis in China. Scientia Geographica Sinica, 19, 313-319. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[韩德林 (1999) 中国绿洲研究之进展. 地理科学, 19, 313-319.]
[18] Hu R, Wang XP, Zhang YF, Shi W, Jin YX, Chen N (2016) Insight into the influence of sand-stabilizing shrubs on soil enzyme activity in a temperate desert. Catena, 137, 526-535.
[19] Institute of Soil Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences(1978) Analytical Methods of Soil Physical and Chemical Properties. Shanghai Science and Technology Press, Shanghai. (in Chinese)
[中国科学院南京土壤研究所(1978) 土壤理化分析. 上海科学技术出版社, 上海.]
[20] Jangid K, Williams MA, Franzluebbers AJ, Sanderlin JS, Reeves JH, Jenkins MB, Endale DM, Coleman DC, Whitman WB (2008) Relative impacts of land-use, management intensity and fertilization upon soil microbial community structure in agricultural systems. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 40, 2843-2853.
[21] Jia BQ, Ci LJ (2003)The Ecological Research of Oasis Landscape. Science Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
[贾保全, 慈龙骏 (2003) 绿洲景观生态研究. 科学出版社, 北京.]
[22] Jia HR, Geng LL, Li YH, Wang Q, Diao QY, Zhou T, Dai PL (2016) The effects of Bt Cry1Ie toxin on bacterial diversity in the midgut of Apis mellifera ligustica (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Scientific Reports, 6, 24664. doi:10.1038/srep24664.
[23] Koellner T, Geyer R (2013) Global land use impact assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services in LCA. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment, 18, 1185-1187.
[24] Li CH, Tang LS, Jia ZJ, Li Y (2015) Profile changes in the soil microbial community when desert becomes oasis. PLoS ONE, 10, e0139626.
[25] Li FR, Feng Q, Liu JL, Sun TS, Ren W, Guan ZH (2013) Effects of the conversion of native vegetation to farmlands on soil microarthropod biodiversity and ecosystem functioning in a desert oasis. Ecosystems, 16, 1364-1377.
[26] Li FR, Liu JL, Hua W, Niu RX, Liu QJ, Liu CA (2011) Trophic group responses of ground arthropods to land-cover change and management disturbance. Acta Ecologica Sinica, 31, 4169-4181. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[李锋瑞, 刘继亮, 化伟, 牛瑞雪, 刘七军, 刘长安 (2011) 地面节肢动物营养类群对土地覆被变化和管理扰动的响应. 生态学报, 31, 4169-4181.]
[27] Li FR, Liu JL, Sun TS, Jin BW, Chen LJ (2014) Converting natural vegetation to farmland alters functional structure of ground-dwelling beetles and spiders in a desert oasis. Journal of Insect Conservation, 18, 57-67.
[28] Li T, Su J, Xu ZQ, Li XL, Han GD, Zhang JP (2017) The distribution and dynamic of Curculionidae on Haloxylon ammodendron in Gurbantünggüt Desert. Journal of Shihezi University (Natural Science), 35, 201-206. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[李婷, 苏杰, 许照强, 李兴龙, 韩国栋, 张建萍 (2017) 古尔班通古特沙漠梭梭林象甲科昆虫分布及其动态研究. 石河子大学学报(自然科学版), 35, 201-206.]
[29] Lin XG (2010)Principles and Methods of Soil Microbiology Research. Higher Education Press, Beijing. (in Chinese)
[林先贵 (2010) 土壤微生物原理与方法. 高等教育出版社, 北京.]
[30] Liu JL, Li FR, Liu LL, Yang K (2017) Responses of different Collembola and mite taxa to experimental rain pulses in an arid ecosystem. Catena, 155, 53-61.
[31] Liu JL, Li FR, Liu QJ, Niu RX (2010) Composition and diversity of surface-active soil fauna communities in arid desert ecosystems of the Heihe Basin. Journal of Desert Research, 30, 342-349. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[刘继亮, 李锋瑞, 刘七军, 牛瑞雪 (2010) 黑河流域干旱荒漠土壤动物群落组成与多样性的季节变异. 中国沙漠, 30, 342-349.]
[32] Liu RT, Zhao HL, Zhao XY (2012) Effects of different afforestation types on soil faunal diversity in Horqin Sand Land. Chinese Journal of Applied Ecology, 23, 1104-1110. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[刘任涛, 赵哈林, 赵学勇 (2012) 科尔沁沙地不同造林类型对土壤动物多样性的影响. 应用生态学报, 23, 1104-1110.]
[33] Liu YH, Yu ZR, Gu WB, Axmacher JC (2006) Diversity of carabids (Coleoptera, Carabidae) in the desalinized agricultural landscape of Quzhou County, China. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 113, 45-50.
[34] Newbold T, Hudson LN, Hill SLL, Contu S, Lysenko I, Senior RA, Börger L, Bennett DJ, Choimes A, Collen B, Day J, Palma AD, Díaz S, Echeverria-Londoño S, Edgar MJ, Feldman A, Garon M, Harrison MLK, Alhusseini T, Ingram DJ, Itescu Y, Kattge J, Kemp V, Kirkpatrick L, Kleyer M, Correia DLP, Martin CD, Meiri S, Novosolov M, Pan Y, Phillips HRP, Purves DW, Robinson A, Simpson J, Tuck SL, Weiher E, White HJ, Ewers RM, Mace GM, Scharlemann JPW, Purvis A (2015) Global effects of land use on local terrestrial biodiversity. Nature, 520, 45-50.
[35] Nielsen UN, Ayres E, Wall DH, Bardgett RD (2011) Soil biodiversity and carbon cycling: A review and synthesis of studies examining diversity-function relationships. European Journal of Soil Science, 62, 105-116.
[36] Nielsen UN, Ball BA (2015) Impacts of altered precipitation regimes on soil communities and biogeochemistry in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Global Change Biology, 21, 1407-1421.
[37] Nielsen UN, Osler GHR, Campbell CD, Burslem DFRP, van der Wal R (2010) The influence of vegetation type, soil properties and precipitation on the composition of soil mite and microbial communities at the landscape scale. Journal of Biogeography, 37, 1317-1328.
[38] Owojori OJ, Reinecke AJ, Voua-Otomo P, Reinecke SA (2009) Comparative study of the effects of salinity on life-cycle parameters of four soil-dwelling species (Folsomia candida, Enchytraeus doerjesi, Eisenia fetida and Aporrectodea caliginosa). Pedobiologia, 52, 351-360.
[39] Pan XL, Ma YJ, Gao W, Qi JG, Shi QD, Lu HY (2004) The eco-environmental evolution in arid area of West China. Journal of Desert Research, 24, 663-673. (in Chinese with English abstract)
[潘晓玲, 马映军, 高炜, 齐家国, 师庆东, 陆海燕 (2004) 中国西部干旱区生态环境演变过程. 中国沙漠, 24, 663-673.]
[53] Zhou ZY, Li FR, Chen SK, Zhang HR, Li G (2011) Dynamics of vegetation and soil carbon and nitrogen accumulation over 26 years under controlled grazing in a desert shrubland. Plant and Soil, 341, 257-268.
[40] Paz-Kagan T, Caras T, Herrmann I, Shachak M, Karnieli A (2017) Multiscale mapping of species diversity under changed land use using imaging spectroscopy. Ecological Applications, 27, 1466-1484.
[1] E BAI Bing Xue. (2020) A review of influences of land use and land cover change on ecosystems . Chin J Plant Ecol, 44(全球变化与生态系统专辑): 0-0.
[2] Sun Xiaoping,Li Shuang,Yu Jianping,Fang Yanjun,Zhang Yinlong,Cao Mingchang. (2019) Evaluation of ecosystem service value based on land use scenarios: A case study of Qianjiangyuan National Park pilot . Biodiv Sci, 27(1): 51-63.
[3] Chuping Wu,Wenjuan Han,Bo Jiang,Bowen Liu,Weigao Yuan,Aihua Shen,Yujie Huang,Jinru Zhu. (2018) Relationships between species richness and biomass/productivity depend on environmental factors in secondary forests of Dinghai, Zhejiang Province . Biodiv Sci, 26(6): 545-553.
[4] Jing-Peng LI, Zhi-Rong ZHENG, Nian-Xi ZHAO, Yu-Bao GAO. (2016) Relationship between ecosystem multifuntionality and species diversity in grassland ecosystems under land-use types of clipping, enclosure and grazing . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 40(8): 735-747.
[5] Linhui Jiang,Ling Luo,Zhenggao Xiao,Daming Li,Xiaoyun Chen,Manqiang Liu,Feng Hu. (2016) Effects of soil biota influenced by long-term organic and chemical fertilizers on rice growth and resistance to insects . Biodiv Sci, 24(8): 907-915.
[6] Hua JU, Guo-Zhen SHEN, Ming-Zhe MA, Jie-Lin GE, Wen-Ting XU, Chang-Ming ZHAO, Qiu- Liang ZHANG. (2016) Greenhouse gas fluxes of typical northern subtropical forest soils: Impacts of land use change and reduced precipitation . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 40(10): 1049-1063.
[7] Wei Xu,Xin Jing,Zhiyuan Ma,Jin-Sheng He. (2016) A review on the measurement of ecosystem multifunctionality . Biodiv Sci, 24(1): 72-84.
[8] Wei Xu,Zhiyuan Ma,Xin Jing,Jin-Sheng He. (2016) Biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality: advances and perspectives . Biodiv Sci, 24(1): 55-.
[9] PENG Zi, GU Cheng-Yan, LIU Zhi-Yong, LIN Wen, and ZHOU Ping. (2014) Impact of land use change during 1989–2009 on eco-capacity in Dongjiang watershed . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 38(7): 675-686.
[10] YUAN Zi-Qiang, WEI Pan-Pan, GAO Ben-Qiang, and ZHANG Rong. (2012) Effect of sampling scale on the relationship between species diversity and productivity in subalpine meadows . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 36(12): 1248-1255.
[11] LI Xiao-Gang, ZHU Zhi-Hong, ZHOU Xiao-Song, YUAN Fu-Rong, FAN Rui-Jian, and XU Man-Li. (2011) Effects of clipping, fertilizing and watering on the relationship between species diversity, functional diversity and primary productivity in alpine meadow of China . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 35(11): 1136-1147.
[12] Shaojun Wang, Honghua Ruan. (2008) Feedback mechanisms of soil biota to aboveground biology in terrestrial ecosystems . Biodiv Sci, 16(4): 407-416.
[13] SHEN Dong-Wei, LI Yuan-Yuan, CHEN Xiao-Yong. (2007) REVIEW OF CLONAL DIVERSITY AND ITS EFFECTS ON ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 31(4): 552-560.
[14] Shenglei Fu. (2007) A review and perspective on soil biodiversity research . Biodiv Sci, 15(2): 109-115.
[15] MENG Ting-Ting, NI Jian, Wang Guo-Hong. (2007) PLANT FUNCTIONAL TRAITS, ENVIRONMENTS AND ECOSYSTEM FUNCTIONING . Chin J Plan Ecolo, 31(1): 150-165.
Full text