Javascript is not activated in your browser. This website needs javascript activated to work properly.
You are here

Considering fungal:bacterial dominance in soils - Methods, controls, and ecosystem implications

  • Michael S. Strickland
  • Johannes Rousk
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 1385-1395
Publication/Series: Soil Biology & Biochemistry
Volume: 42
Issue: 9
Document type: Journal article review
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

An expectation in soil ecology is that a microbial communities' fungal:bacterial dominance indicates both its response to environmental change and its impact on ecosystem function. We review a selection of the increasing body of literature on this subject and assess the relevance of its expectations by examining the methods used to determine, the impact of environmental factors on, and the expected ecosystem consequences of fungal:bacterial dominance. Considering methods, we observe that fungal:bacterial dominance is contingent on the actual measure used to estimate it. This has not been carefully considered; fungal:bacterial dominance of growth, biomass, and residue indicate different, and not directly relatable aspects, of the microbial community's influence on soil functioning. Considering relationships to environmental factors, we found that shifts in fungal:bacterial dominance were not always in line with the general expectation, in many instances even being opposite to them. This is likely because the traits expected to differentiate bacteria from fungi are often not distinct. Considering the impact of fungal:bacterial dominance on ecosystem function, we similarly found that expectations were not always upheld and this too could be due to trait overlap between these two groups. We explore many of the potential reasons why expectations related to fungal:bacterial dominance were not met, highlighting areas where future research, especially furthering a basic understanding of the ecology of bacteria and fungi, is needed. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Biological Sciences
  • nitrogen
  • Carbon:
  • Decomposition
  • Fungal: bacterial
  • Carbon sequestration
  • Fungi
  • Bacteria


  • Interaction between fungi and bacteria in soil
  • Carbon drivers and microbial agents of soil respiration
  • Microbial carbon-use efficiency
  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 0038-0717
JR photo
E-mail: johannes [dot] rousk [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer


+46 46 222 37 45



Research group


Doctoral students and postdocs

PhD students, main supervisor

Visiting PhD students, main supervisor

PhD students, assistant supervisor


Downloads & links