Mar 20, 2009

Temperature oscillation coupled with fungal community shifts can modulate warming effects on litter decomposition

Christian K DangMark O Gessner


Diel temperature oscillations are a nearly ubiquitous phenomenon, with amplitudes predicted to change along with mean temperatures under global-warming scenarios. Impact assessments of global warming have largely disregarded diel temperature oscillations, even though key processes in ecosystems, such as decomposition, may be affected. We tested the effect of a 5 degrees C temperature increase with and without diel oscillations on litter decomposition by fungal communities in stream microcosms. Five temperature regimes with identical thermal sums (degree days) were applied: constant 3 degrees and 8 degrees C; diel temperature oscillations of 5 degrees C around each mean; and oscillations of 9 degrees C around 8 degrees C. Temperature oscillations around 8 degrees C (warming scenario), but not 3 degrees C (ambient scenario), accelerated decomposition by 18% (5 degrees C oscillations) and 31% (9 degrees C oscillations), respectively, compared to the constant temperature regime at 8 degrees C. Community structure was not affected by oscillating temperatures, although the rise in mean temperature from 3 degrees to 8 degrees C consistently shifted the relative abundance of species. A simple model using temperature-growth responses of...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Trees (plant)
Filamentous fungus
Tetracladium marchalianum

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