Volume 36, Issue 7 p. 1573-1584
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Microbial community from species rich meadow supports plant specialists during meadow restoration

Masoud M. Ardestani

Corresponding Author

Masoud M. Ardestani

Institute for Environmental Studies, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Institute of Soil Biology and SoWa Research Infrastructure, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

Correspondence

Masoud M. Ardestani

Email: [email protected], [email protected]

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Ondřej Mudrák

Ondřej Mudrák

Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, Třeboň, Czech Republic

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Jakub Vicena

Jakub Vicena

Institute for Environmental Studies, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

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Daquan Sun

Daquan Sun

Institute of Soil Biology and SoWa Research Infrastructure, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

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Hana Veselá

Hana Veselá

Institute for Environmental Studies, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

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Jan Frouz

Jan Frouz

Institute for Environmental Studies, Charles University in Prague, Prague, Czech Republic

Institute of Soil Biology and SoWa Research Infrastructure, Biology Centre, Czech Academy of Sciences, České Budějovice, Czech Republic

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First published: 07 April 2022
Citations: 3

Handling Editor: Adam Frew

Abstract

  1. Soil properties and soil microbial communities can greatly affect plant communities, especially in disturbed ecosystems. However, their relative contribution to the final effect on plants has rarely been assessed.
  2. We manipulated the soil microbial community in microcosms by inoculating sterilized soils originating from preserved species-rich meadow and a restored meadow with a high and low diversity of microbial inoculum (manipulated by the dilution of microbial community extract) from those soils in full factorial manner, yielding eight treatments (2 soil origins × 2 inoculum sources × 2 levels of inoculum diversity).
  3. In general, the biomass of plant meadow specialists (Filipendula vulgaris, Phleum phleoides, and Prunella grandiflora) was greater with the preserved meadow inoculum than with the restored meadow inoculum but tended to be greater in the restored meadow soil than in the preserved meadow soil. Two meadow generalists (Festuca rubra and Centaurea jacea) were not significantly affected by soil origin, inoculum source, or inoculum diversity, but the third generalist Plantago media produced greater biomass in the preserved meadow soil than in the restored meadow soil.
  4. Total above-ground biomass was not affected by the treatments, but total below-ground biomass was greater with microbial inoculum from the preserved meadow than from the restored meadow, and this increase was greater in the restored meadow soil than in the preserved meadow soil.
  5. Our results indicate strong responses of the preserved meadow specialists to the soil microbial community, which may explain why they are rare in the meadows that were restored following agricultural use.

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CONFLICT OF INTEREST

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest. ‘Ondřej Mudrák is an Associate Editor of Functional Ecology but took no part in the peer review and decision-making processes for this paper’.

DATA AVAILABILITY STATEMENT

The raw data and Supporting Information for the results of this study are available at the Dryad Digital Repository https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.r4xgxd2fg (Ardestani et al., 2022).