Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2019, Vol. 43 ›› Issue (2): 107-118.doi: 10.17521/cjpe.2018.0272

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of simulated warming and decomposition interface on the litter decomposition rate of Zizania latifolia and its phyllospheric microbial community structure and function

YAN Peng-Fei1,ZHAN Peng-Fei1,XIAO De-Rong1,WANG Yi2,YU Rui1,LIU Zhen-Ya1,WANG Hang1,*()   

  1. 1 Southwest Forestry University National Plateau Wetlands Research Center/Wetlands College, Kunming 650224, China
    2 College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, Yunnan Agricultural University, Kunming 650201, China
  • Received:2018-10-31 Accepted:2019-01-30 Online:2019-06-04 Published:2019-02-20
  • Contact: WANG Hang
  • Supported by:
    Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41877346);Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(31500409);Supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(41867059)

Abstract: <i>Aims</i>

Litters of emergent plants are important components of material cycling in wetland ecosystems. To clarify the effects of climate warming and habitat difference on the litter decomposition processes and phyllospheric microorganisms of wetland emergent plants is of great significance for revealing the key material cycling processes in wetland ecosystems.


Zizania latifolia, a dominant emergent plant in typical wetlands of Northwestern Yunnan Plateau, was chosen for this study. Using litter bag methods, we studied mass remaining and the abundance, community structure and metabolic potential of phyllospheric microorganisms of the litter from Zizania latifolia under simulated warming (1.5-2.0 ℃) and under three habitats (air, water and soil interface).

<i>Important findings</i>

Simulated climatic warming and habitat difference significantly affected the litter decomposition rate. After one-year decomposition, the mass remaining of litter was 66.4% under the simulated warming treatment, while 77.7% under the control treatment. The decomposition constant (k) value was 1.64 times under warming compared to the control. The mass remaining of litter at the water and soil interface was 42.2% and 25.3%, and the k value at the water and soil interface was 3.63 and 5.25 times of that at the air interface respectively. These results indicate that habitat difference was the key factor controlling the decomposition of emergent plant litter in wetlands. Moreover, warming mainly changed the community composition of litter phyllospheric microorganisms, while decomposition interface mainly affected the abundance, community structure and metabolic potential of phyllospheric microorganisms. Notably, phyllospheric microorganisms of litter at soil interface had the highest metabolic potential and utilized alcohols as main carbon sources. The characteristics of phyllospheric microorganisms between different treatments were in good agreement with litter decomposition rate, which provides an important theoretical basis for revealing the microbial mechanisms driving the decomposition of wetland plant litter.

Key words: wetland ecosystem, litter decomposition, phyllospheric microorganisms, simulated warming, habitat difference

Fig. 1

Experiment of simulated warming and habitat difference for litter decomposition of Zizania latifolia. A, Three habitats include air interface, water interface, and soil interface. Among them, litter bags under air decomposition were hang over the bamboo (1.2 m from the ground), litter bags under water decomposition were floated in the surface of water (with the aids of table tennis), and litter bags under soil decomposition were fixed by PVC tubes in the soils (5.0 cm in deep). B, The design and operation of Open-top Chamber (OTC). Among them, control group has no OTC devices, and OTC devices simulate rising temperature (warming group). The device was constructed by solar panels with 2.4 m base and 2.0 m opening in diameter. The temperatures between control and warming groups were recorded from December 2014 to December 2015 (once per hour). In warming treatment, the temperature has been raised by 1.5-2.0 ℃. C, The research object was a typical emergent wetland plant, Zizania latifolia. Its leaf litter was subjected to warming and habitat difference treatments."

Fig. 2

Seasonal dynamics in mass remaining of leaf litter from Zizania latifolia (mean ± SE, n = 3). The different lowercase letters above error bars indicate significant differences between treatments by Post Hoc Tests (p < 0.05)."

Fig. 3

Microbial colony counts in culture dish for leaf litter of Zizania latifolia (mean ± SE). *, p < 0.05; **, p < 0.01."

Fig. 4

Diversity of bacterial community indicated by Chao1 index and the bacterial community composition at the genus level for leaf litter of Zizania latifolia. The error bars represent standard errors (n = 3), and the different lowercase letters above error bars indicate significant differences between treatments by Post Hoc Tests (p < 0.05)."

Fig. 5

Dynamics in average well color development (AWCD) value for carbon sources utilized by litter phyllospheric microorganisms of Zizania latifolia during an incubation period of 12-168 h. The error bars represent standard errors (n = 3), and the different lowercase letters above error bars indicate significant differences between treatments by Post Hoc Tests (p < 0.05)."

Fig. 6

Utilization of six major groups of carbon sources by litter phyllospheric microorganisms of Zizania latifolia."

Fig. 7

Similarity analysis shows the contribution of different carbon sources to the dissimilarity between control vs. warming, air interface vs. water interface, air interface vs. soil interface, and water interface vs. soil interface, illustrated by heatmaps. The color (blue to red) represents the relative contribution of different carbon substrates (0-100%). The observations at 72-96 h incubation point were used for drawing the heatmaps."

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