Functional and structural responses of bacterial and methanogen communities to 3-year warming incubation in different depths of peat mire

Seon Young Kim, Chris Freeman, Nathalie Fenner, Hojeong Kang

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Global warming is expected to have greater impacts on northern peatlands in coming decade than most other ecosystems. Bacterial and methanogen communities in peatlands play a role in greenhouse gas emissions, and provide a feedback to global climate change. We investigated 3-degree warming effects on gas emissions (CO2 and CH4) and bacterial and methanogen communities in different depths of peat mire for 3 growing seasons. Warming doubled CO2 fluxes from the warming treatments compared to that from the control (P=0.08). Although CH4 fluxes were higher in the warming treatment, it was not a significant increase. Warming caused a shift in the composition of bacterial communities in the surface (1-3cm, P<0.01) and middle layers (9-11cm, P<0.01), but not in the deep layer (17-19cm). There were few changes in the diversity indices and quantity of bacterial communities due to the warming treatments. Warming significantly decreased the richness, Shannon diversity index, and quantity of methanogens. However, the composition was hardly related to temperature. The ratios of methanogens to bacteria in terms of gene copy numbers significantly decreased by a factor of 2-6 due to elevated temperature. The composition and diversity of bacteria and methanogens, respectively, were significantly related to soil depth. Temperature and soil depth interacted significantly on the bacterial diversity (P=0.01). The results suggest that warming is likely to influence the function and structure of microbial communities in peatlands. However, warming effects would be different with the type of microbial community and soil depth. Warming could favor bacterial communities over methanogens, which may induce changes in balance between CO2 and CH4 emissions from peatlands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalApplied Soil Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government ( NRF-2009-352-C00145 ), and S.-Y. Kim is grateful to the Yonsei University Research Fund of 2010 for financial support. C. Freeman and N. Fenner acknowledge support from the Royal Society , Leverhume Trust and NERC . H. Kang is grateful to NRF ( 2010-0028708 ; 2011-0030838 ) for financial support.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Soil Science


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