Chin J Plant Ecol ›› 2022, Vol. 46 ›› Issue (3): 350-361.DOI: 10.17521/cjpe.2021.0127

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of moss mortality on soil enzyme activities in a temperate desert

ZHANG Qing1,2, YIN Ben-Feng2,*(), LI Ji-Wen2,3, LU Yong-Xing2,4, RONG Xiao-Ying2, ZHOU Xiao-Bing2, ZHANG Bing-Chang1,*(), ZHANG Yuan-Ming2   

  1. 1Geography Science College, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen, Shanxi 041000, China
    2State Key Laboratory of Desert and Oasis Ecology, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Ürümqi 830011, China
    3College of Life Science and Technology, Xinjiang University, Ürümqi 830046, China
    4University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2021-04-07 Accepted:2021-08-08 Online:2022-03-20 Published:2021-09-18
  • Contact: YIN Ben-Feng,ZHANG Bing-Chang
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(41901134);West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(2018-XBQNXZ-B-016);West Light Foundation of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(XBQNXZ-2019-007);Youth Innovation Promotion Association of the Chinese Academy of Sciences(2020437);High-level Scientific Research Foundation for Talent Introduction in Xinjiang(Y943081001)


Aims Catalysis associated with extracellular enzymes are closely related to nutrient circulation and energetic flow in soils. Changes of global climate and land use have resulted in different degrees of death of moss-dominated biological soil crusts (BSCs), yet there is still little knowledge of how moss mortality influences the nutrient cycling in the topsoil of a temperate desert.
Methods In this study, we measured the enzyme activities related to carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in different soil layers (0-2, 2-5, 5-10, 10-20 cm) under living and dead mosses in a desert in Gurbantünggüt, Xinjiang, China.
Important findings We found that moss death had a significant effect on the activities of β-glucosidase, peroxidase, polyphenol oxidase, urease, nitrate reductase, phytase and alkaline phosphatase; these enzyme activities decreased with the increase of soil depth. The moss death decreased phytase activity, and increased enzyme activities related to carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling. The results of correlation analyses showed that the carbon- and nitrogen-related enzyme activities were positively correlated with soil organic carbon, total nitrogen, NO3--N and NH4+-N contents, and negatively correlated with pH, whereas the phytase and alkaline phosphatase activities had no significant correlation with total phosphorus and available phosphorus contents. In summary, the moss death in the temperate desert changed soil enzyme activities and accelerated soil nutrient cycling in a relatively short time.

Key words: biological soil crust, soil extracellular enzymes, nutrient cycling, Syntrichia caninervis, Gurbantünggüt Desert