Soil microbial activity in hydromorphic-subaqueous ecosystems: processes and functional biodiveristy

Ruxandra Papp, Livia Vittori Antisari, Gilmo Vianello, Rosit Marabottini, Sara Marinari


The hydromorphic and subaqueous soils have largely been overlooked on their pedogenic concepts or in soil C accounting studies considering their phisico-chemical properties. Conversely, little attention has been paid to the microbial activity playing a key role in regulating the biogeochemical cycle of elements. The aim of the study was to evaluate biological properties such as enzyme activities and the functional diversity of soil microbial population as bio- indicators, sensitive to processes affected by the water shallow. Eight soil profiles were opened along two transects: 1) a-a’ North and 2) b-b' South, in a dune ecosystem of the Adriatic coast, Ravenna (Italy). The soil chemical and biochemical properties were determined. In particular, soil enzyme activities and soil induced respiration were measured using the microplates technique in order to assess the microbial functional diversity. The soil biochemical properties such as the potential enzyme activities and microbial induced respiration, as well as microbial functional diversity were sensitive indicators to study hydromorphic and subaqueous soils. A general reduction of hydrolytic enzyme activities was observed in subaqueous soil with respect to hydromorphic one. Moreover, the endopedon of subaqueous soils showed a lower microbial functional diversity than hydromorphic one. In this study the ratio of enzyme activities involved in C to S cycles (SEIC/Aryl) as well as the C:S ratio showed a marked reduction in the subaqueous with respect to hydromorphic soils. In conclusion, in a coastal area the C and S biogeochemical cycles, in the hydromorphic and subaqueous soils, may depend on freshwater and saltwater interface equilibrium.


Sulfiwassent; Psammowassent; Psammaquent; soil microbial activity

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2281-4485/5796


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