Soil aggregation is a principal ecosystem process mediated by soil biota. Collembola and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi are important groups in the soil, and can interact in various ways. Few studies have examined collembola effects on soil aggregation, while many have quantified AM effects. Here, we asked if collembola have any effect on soil aggregation, and if they alter AM fungi-mediated effects on soil aggregation.
We carried out a factorial greenhouse study, manipulating the presence of both collembola and AM fungi, using two different plant species, Sorghum vulgare and Daucus carota. We measured root length and biomass, AMF (and non-AMF) soil hyphal length, root colonization, and collembolan populations, and quantified water stable soil aggregates (WSA) in four size classes.
Soil exposed to growth of AMF hyphae and collembola individually had higher WSA than control treatments. Moreover, the interaction effects between AMF and collembola were significant, with nonadditive increases in the combined application compared to the single treatments.
Our findings show that collembola can play a crucial role in maintaining ecological sustainability through promoting soil aggregation, and point to the importance of considering organism interactions in understanding formation of soil structure. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
- Soil aggregation
- MYCOPHAGOUS COLLEMBOLA
- FOLSOMIA-CANDIDA COLLEMBOLA
- Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science