Andrés P., Rosell-Melé A., Colomer-Ventura F., Denef K., Cotrufo M.F., Riba M., Alcañiz J.M. (2019) Belowground biota responses to maize biochar addition to the soil of a Mediterranean vineyard. Science of the Total Environment. 660: 1522-1532.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.01.101
Biochar is a high carbon material resulting from biomass pyrolysis that, when applied to croplands, can increase soil carbon and soil water retention. Both effects are of critical importance in semi-arid regions, where carbon decline and desertification are the main drivers of soil degradation. Since most environmental services provided by soil are mediated by belowground biota, effects of biochar on soil microbial and invertebrate communities must be evaluated under field conditions before its agricultural application can be recommended. We tested maize biochar for its mid-term effect on soil microbes and micro-arthropods of a Mediterranean vineyard. We applied biochar to three field plots with neutral sandy loam soils at a dose of 5 Mg ha−1. During two years, we monitored the abundance of functional groups of soil micro-arthropods and estimated the biomass of soil microbial groups. We also analyzed the δ13C value of microbial PLFA biomarkers to determine biochar-C utilization by each microbial group taking advantage of the δ13C natural abundance differences between the applied biochar and the soil. Biochar addition significantly reduced soil microbial biomass but did not alter the functional microbial diversity nor the abundance or biodiversity of soil micro-arthropods. The contribution of biochar-C to the diet of most microbial groups was very low through the monitoring period. However, two gram-negative bacterial groups increased their biochar-derived carbon uptake under extreme soil dryness, which suggests that biochar-C might help soil microbes to overcome the food shortage caused by drought. The decrease in microbial biomass observed in our experiment and the concomitant decrease of SOM mineralization could contribute to the carbon sequestration potential of Mediterranean soils after biochar addition. © 2019 Elsevier B.V.
Andrés, P., Moore, J.C., Cotrufo, F., Denef, K., Haddix, M.L., Molowny-Horas, R., Riba, M., Wall, D.H. (2017) Grazing and edaphic properties mediate soil biotic response to altered precipitation patterns in a semiarid prairie. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 113: 263-274.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2017.06.022
Andrés P., Moore J.C., Simpson R.T., Selby G., Cotrufo F., Denef K., Haddix M.L., Shaw E.A., de Tomasel C.M., Molowny-Horas R., Wall D.H. (2016) Soil food web stability in response to grazing in a semi-arid prairie: The importance of soil textural heterogeneity. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 97: 131-143.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.02.014
Grazing of grasslands by large herbivores is a form of land use intensification that affects not only plant communities but also soil biota and the ecosystem services that it provides. While grassland ecosystem responses to grazing have been extensively studied, few studies have focused on the effects of aboveground herbivores on belowground diversity and functions. In this work, we quantified effects of grazing on the structure, function and dynamic stability of soil food webs. We sampled a long-term grazing manipulation in a semi-arid shortgrass steppe (USA Great Plains) at sites showing contrasting soil textures. Treatments included native steppe plots that have been moderately grazed since 1939 paired with plots totally protected from grazing since 1996. We sampled our plots for soil C and N, and for soil biota, separated microbes and micro- and mesofauna in trophic functional groups and defined trophic relationships. We used models to estimate carbon and nitrogen mineralization, energy flow throughout the food web, interaction strengths between trophic groups at steady-state and, eventually, asymptotic (near-equilibrium or local) stability (Moore and de Ruiter, 2012). Soil food web response to grazing depended on soil texture and organic matter content. In our food webs, most energy flowed through the fungal and bacterial detritus-based channels (sensu Moore and Hunt, 1988). There was a clear asymmetry between the amount of energy flowing through each of the two channels and, the higher this asymmetry, the higher was food web stability. Stability was affected by both grazing and soil properties (increased under grazing in high clay soils with high organic matter content but decreased in less organic loam sandy soils), and positively associated with soil organic matter content. Overall, we found that the carbon flow through the soil food web of the shortgrass steppe is responsive to grazing in ways that altered stability and that structural, functional, and dynamic attributes are sensitive parameters for evaluating soil response to land use under changing scenarios. © 2016 Elsevier Ltd.
Pauli, N., Abbott, L.K., Negrete-Yankelevich, S., Andrés, P. (2016) Farmers’ knowledge and use of soil fauna in agriculture: A worldwide review. Ecology and Society. 21: 0-0.EnllaçDoi: 10.5751/ES-08597-210319
Chelinho S., Domene X., Campana P., Andres P., Rombke J., Sousa J.P. (2014) Toxicity of phenmedipham and carbendazim to Enchytraeus crypticus and Eisenia andrei (Oligochaeta) in Mediterranean soils. Journal of Soils and Sediments. 14: 584-599.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s11368-013-0818-8
Purpose: The main objective of the present study was to evaluate the toxicity of two reference chemicals, Carbendazim and Phenmedipham, for the compostworm Eisenia andrei (effects of Carbendazim) and the potworm Enchytraeus crypticus (effects of Phenmedipham) in 12 Mediterranean soils with contrasting soil properties. The observed toxicity was also compared to that obtained for OECD standard soil, used as a control. Materials and methods: The soils were selected to be representative for the Mediterranean region and to cover a broad range of soil properties. The evaluated endpoints were avoidance behavior and reproduction. Soils were also assembled in two groups according to their pedological properties. Results and discussion: Toxicity benchmarks (AC50s) obtained for E. andrei avoidance behavior in carbendazim-contaminated soils were generally higher for sandy soils with low pH. The toxic effects on the reproduction of the compostworms were similar in the six tested soils, indicating a low influence of soil properties. The avoidance response of E. crypticus towards Phenmedipham was generally highly variable in all tested soils. Even though, a higher toxicity was observed for more acidic soils. The EC50s for reproduction of the latter species varied by a factor of 9 and Phenmedipham toxicity also tended to be increasing in soils with lower pH, except for the soils with extreme organic matter content (0.6 and 5.8%). Conclusions: A soil effect on chemical toxicity was clearly confirmed, highlighting the influence that test soils can have in site-specific ecological risk assessment. Despite some relationships between soil properties and toxicity were outlined, a clear and statistically significant prediction of chemical toxicity could not be established. The range of soil properties was probably narrow to give clearer and more consistent insights on their influence. For the four groups of tests, the toxicity observed for OECD soil was either similar, lower, or generally higher if compared with Mediterranean soils. Moreover, it did represent neither the organic matter content found in Mediterranean soils nor their textural classes. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Chelinho S., Domene X., Andres P., Natal-da-Luz T., Norte C., Rufino C., Lopes I., Cachada A., Espindola E., Ribeiro R., Duarte A.C., Sousa J.P. (2013) Soil microarthropod community testing: A new approach to increase the ecological relevance of effect data for pesticide risk assessment. Applied Soil Ecology. : 0-0.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.apsoil.2013.06.009
In the present study, a new complementary approach combining the use of the natural soil microarthropod community and conventional test methods was used. The effects of soil contamination with the insecticide carbofuran on two geographically distinct microarthropod communities (Mediterranean and Tropical) were evaluated in their soils of origin under controlled laboratory conditions. After contamination of two agricultural soils from Portugal and Brazil, a gradient of concentrations was prepared. Soil cores were taken from the respective uncontaminated surrounding areas and the mesofauna of three cores was extracted directly to the test soil. After extracting the microarthropod communities to the test soil, these were incubated under laboratory conditions for 4 weeks, after which the mesofauna was extracted again. The organisms were assorted into higher taxonomic groups and Acari and Collembola were respectively assorted into order/sub-order/cohort and family. Collembolans were still classified according to morphological traits and used as a case-study of trait based risk assessment (TERA; Baird et al., 2008) of pesticides. The exposure to insecticide contamination caused the impoverishment of the taxonomic diversity in both communities. Significant shifts in the microarthropod community structure in the different carbofuran treatments were found for both soils, although effects were more pronounced in the assay performed with the soil from Brazil. Collembolans were the most affected group with a strong decline in their abundance. A dose-response relationship was observed, showing a consistent decline on the relative abundance of Isotomidae, closely followed by an increase of Entomobryidae. Contrastingly, Acari (especially Oribatida) tended to increase their numbers with higher concentrations. Trait based analysis of Collembola data suggested that a shift in the functional composition of the communities occurred due to carbofuran soil contamination and that species adapted to deeper soil layers were more vulnerable to insecticide toxicity. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Andrés P., Salgado C., Espelta J.M. (2011) Optimizing nursery and plantation methods to grow Cedrela odorata seedlings in tropical dry agroecosystems. Agroforestry Systems. 83: 225-234.EnllaçDoi: 10.1007/s10457-011-9404-5
Cedrela odorata (Spanish cedar) is a valuable multi-purpose tree which Central American rural communities and farmers give priority to introducing in pastures and home gardens. In order to propose realistic methods for C. odorata production in local nurseries in the dry tropical region of Nicaragua, we studied: (a) the ability of locally collected C. odorata seeds to germinate, (b) seed response to storage under ambient conditions or under cold storage, (c) the effects of irradiance and watering during cultivation on seedling morphology and post-transplantation survival, and (d) the effects of competition from grasses on C. odorata seedlings transplanted to pastures. Seed germination ranged from 55 to 66% and remained constant after 6 months of storage under ambient conditions or cold storage. C. odorata seedling morphology was sensitive to irradiation and watering in the nursery growing period. Deep shade reduced seedling biomass and leafiness and increased specific leaf area and root-to-shoot ratio. Water shortage increased root mass ratio and root-to-shoot ratio and decreased leaf mass ratio. Post-transplantation success was favored by weeding, and was the highest for seedlings grown under deep shade and water restrictions. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Domene X., Chelinho S., Campana P., Natal-da-Luz T., Alcañiz J.M., Andrés P., Römbke J., Sousa P. (2011) Influence of soil properties on the performance of Folsomia candida: Implications for its use in soil ecotoxicology testing. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry. 30: 1497-1505.EnllaçDoi: 10.1002/etc.533
Nineteen Mediterranean natural soils with a wide range of properties and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) artificial soil were used to assess the influence of soil properties on the results of avoidance and reproduction tests carried out with the soil collembolan species Folsomia candida. Compared to natural soils, the OECD soil was mostly rejected by individuals when a natural soil was offered in avoidance tests, and the number of offspring produced was generally lower than the one obtained in natural soils. None of the soil properties assessed showed a significant influence on the avoidance behavior. More precisely, only soil moisture was included in the model explaining the avoidance response (avoidance increased with increasing differences in moisture), but its contribution was marginally not significant. The model derived explained only 16% of the variance in avoidance response. On the contrary, several soil properties significantly influenced reproduction (number of offspring increased with increasing moisture content, increasing coarse texture, and decreasing nitrogen content). In this case, the model explained 45% of the variance in reproduction. These results, together with the fact that most of the selected soils fulfilled the validity criteria in both avoidance and reproduction tests, confirm the literature experience showing that this species is relatively insensitive to soil properties and hence highly suitable to be used in ecotoxicological tests with natural soils. In addition, our study highlights the need for accuracy in soil moisture adjustment in soil ecotoxicological tests with this species. Otherwise, results of both avoidance and reproduction tests might be biased. © 2011 SETAC.
Domene X., Solà L., Ramírez W., Alcañiz J.M., Andrés P. (2011) Soil bioassays as tools for sludge compost quality assessment. Waste Management. 31: 512-522.EnllaçDoi: 10.1016/j.wasman.2010.10.013
Composting is a waste management technology that is becoming more widespread as a response to the increasing production of sewage sludge and the pressure for its reuse in soil. In this study, different bioassays (plant germination, earthworm survival, biomass and reproduction, and collembolan survival and reproduction) were assessed for their usefulness in the compost quality assessment. Compost samples, from two different composting plants, were taken along the composting process, which were characterized and submitted to bioassays (plant germination and collembolan and earthworm performance). Results from our study indicate that the noxious effects of some of the compost samples observed in bioassays are related to the low organic matter stability of composts and the enhanced release of decomposition endproducts, with the exception of earthworms, which are favored. Plant germination and collembolan reproduction inhibition was generally associated with uncomposted sludge, while earthworm total biomass and reproduction were enhanced by these materials. On the other hand, earthworm and collembolan survival were unaffected by the degree of composting of the wastes. However, this pattern was clear in one of the composting procedures assessed, but less in the other, where the release of decomposition endproducts was lower due to its higher stability, indicating the sensitivity and usefulness of bioassays for the quality assessment of composts. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
Andrés P, Mateos E, Tarrasón D, Cabrera C, Figuerola B (2011) Effects of fresh, composted, and thermally dried sewage sludge on soil microbiota and mesofauna. Applied Soil Ecology 48: 236-242.
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