Biodiv Sci ›› 2019, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (6): 658-666.  DOI: 10.17520/biods.2019011

• Original Papers:Animal Diversity • Previous Articles     Next Articles

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:2019-06-20 Published:2019-05-15
  • Contact: Wang Shaojun


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