Biodiversity Science ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 658-666.doi: 10.17520/biods.2019011

• Original Papers • Previous Article     Next Article

Effect of ant colonization on spatiotemporal dynamics of readily oxidizable soil carbon across different restoration stages of tropical forests

Zhang Zhe, Wang Shaojun(), Chen Minkun, Cao Run, Li Shaohui   

  1. College of Ecology and Environment, Southwest Forestry University, Kunming 650224
  • Received:2019-01-14 Accepted:2019-04-18 Online:2019-05-15
  • Wang Shaojun E-mail:shaojunwang2009@163.com

This study aimed to understand the mechanism of ant colonization on spatiotemporal variations of soil ROC (readily oxidizable carbon) during the restoration of tropical forests. The experiment was conduced with two treatments (ant nests and without nests) in three restoration stages of Xishuangbanna tropical forests (i.e. Mallotus paniculatus, Musa acuminata, and Mellettia leptobotrya communities). We compared the spatiotemporal dynamics of ROC concentrations in both treatments and concurrently measured soil microbial biomass carbon and physicochemical properties. The results showed that: (1) Ant colonization significantly affected soil ROC concentrations in the tropical forests (P < 0.05), and ROC concentrations in ant nests increased by 14% compared with the control soils. Soil ROC concentrations in three recovery stages were ranked as Musa acuminata community > Mellettia leptobotrya community > Mallotus paniculatus community. (2) ROC concentrations in ant nests and the control soils both showed unimodal temporal variations across the three restoration stages (P < 0.05). The maximum was observed in June, and monthly ROC concentrations were higher in ant nests than in the control soils. (3) ROC concentrations in ant nests and the control soils decreased along the soil profile across three restoration stages (P < 0.05), and they were higher in ant nests (P < 0.05). (4) Variations in soil physicochemical properties induced by ant colonization influenced soil ROC dynamics. Soil ROC was negatively correlated with soil pH and bulk density and positively correlated with soil organic carbon, microbial biomass carbon, total nitrogen, ammonium nitrogen and nitrate nitrogen (P < 0.05). Microbial biomass carbon and total organic carbon in soils were the main contributors to the spatiotemporal variation in ROC in ant nests, while ammonium nitrogen, total nitrogen and total organic carbon were the main controlling factors for the spatiotemporal variation in ROC in control soils. Overall, ant colonization significantly altered soil microbes (e.g. microbial biomass carbon) and soil physicochemical properties (e.g. total organic carbon, ammonium nitrogen and total nitrogen), which impacted spatiotemporal variations in ROC concentrations in the tropical forest soils.

Key words: ant colonization, readily oxidizable carbon, soil physicochemical properties, spatiotemporal dynamics

Fig. 1

Comparison of readily oxidizable carbon (ROC) concentrations in ant nests and the control soils across the three restoration stages of tropical forests. Different letters indicate significant differences between ant nests and control soils (P < 0.05)."

Fig. 2

Temporal changes of readily oxidizable carbon (ROC) concentrations in ant nests and control soils across the three restoration stages of tropical forests. Different letters indicate significant difference between ant nests and the control soils (P < 0.05)."

Fig. 3

Vertical variation of readily oxidizable carbon (ROC) concentrations in ant nests and the control soils across the three restoration stages of tropical forests. Different letters indicate differences in vertical variations of ROC concentrations in ant nests and control soils (P < 0.05)."

Soil physicochemical properties in ant nests and the control soils across the three restoration stages of tropical forests"

Fig. 4

Principal component analysis for the effect of soil physicochemical properties on readily oxidizable carbon (ROC) in ant nests and the control soils across three forest restoration stages. A, Ant nests; B, Without ant nests. 1, Mallotus paniculatus community; 2, Musa acuminata community; 3, Mellettia leptobotrya community. SOC, Soil organic carbon; MBC, Microbial biomass carbon; TN, Total nitrogen; HN, Hydrolyzable nitrogen; NH4+-N, Ammonium nitrogen; NO3--N, Nitrate nitrogen; SW, Soil water; ST, Soil temperature; BD, Bulk density."

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