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Growth measurements of saprotrophic fungi and bacteria reveal differences between canopy and forest floor soils

  • Johannes Rousk
  • Nalini M. Nadkarni
Publishing year: 2009
Language: English
Pages: 862-865
Publication/Series: Soil Biology & Biochemistry
Volume: 41
Issue: 4
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Canopy-held organic matter develops into a distinct soil system separate from the forest floor in wet temperate coniferous forests, creating a natural microcosm. We distinguished between fungal and bacterial components of the decomposer community in one site with Maple (Acer macrophyllum) and one site with Alder (Alnus rubra) by using direct measurements of growth; acetate incorporation into ergosterol, and leucine incorporation for fungi and bacteria, respectively. The higher organic matter content of the canopy soils correlated with higher fungal growth. The relative importance of fungi, indicated by fungal: bacterial growth ratio, was higher in the canopy soil of the Maple site, while there was no difference in the Alder site. The high C:N ratio of the Maple canopy soil likely contributed to this difference. These results demonstrate a divergence between canopy and forest floor that should be explored to gain insights in decomposer ecology using the natural microcosms that the canopy soils provide. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


  • Biological Sciences
  • Fungal growth
  • Epiphytes
  • Canopy soil
  • Acetate incorporation into ergosterol
  • Bacterial growth
  • forest
  • Temperate coniferous
  • Leucine incorporation


  • Carbon drivers and microbial agents of soil respiration
  • Effect of environmental factors on fungal and bacterial growth in soil
  • Microbial carbon-use efficiency
  • Microbial Ecology
  • ISSN: 0038-0717
JR photo
E-mail: johannes [dot] rousk [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

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