Fernández-Martínez M., Margalef O., Sayol F., Asensio D., Bagaria G., Corbera J., Sabater F., Domene X., Preece C. (2019) Sea spray influences water chemical composition of Mediterranean semi-natural springs. Catena. 173: 414-423.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.catena.2018.10.035
Sea spray aerosol (SSA) is responsible for the large-scale transfer of particles from the sea to the land, leading to significant deposition of a range of ions, predominantly Na+, K+, Mg2+ Ca2+, and Cl−. Up to now, there has been little research into the effects of SSA on spring water chemistry. Therefore, we sampled 303 semi-natural springs across Catalonia (NE Iberian Peninsula) and analysed the concentrations of 20 different ions and elements, and determined the impact of SSA (using distance to the coast as a proxy) as well as climate, lithology and human disturbances. We found that distance to the coast had a clear effect on the water chemical composition of springs, while accounting for potentially confounding factors such as anthropogenic water pollution (nitrate, NO3 −), differences in lithology and annual rainfall. Our results showed that springs located closer to the coast had higher Cl−, SO4 2−, Na+, Mg2+, K+ and Ca2+ concentrations than those of springs located further away. Precipitation was generally negatively correlated with the concentration of almost all elements analysed. The concentration of NO3 − increased with distance to the coast, concurrently with farming activities, located mainly inland in the study area. These results demonstrate that SSA has an important effect on the groundwater of coastal zones, up to a distance of around 70 km from the coastline. This analysis reveals the main natural and human processes that influence spring water chemistry in this Mediterranean region, information that could be helpful in similar regions for ecological studies, water quality policies, and for the improvement of predictions in the current context of global change. © 2018 Elsevier B.V.
Preece C., Verbruggen E., Liu L., Weedon J.T., Peñuelas J. (2019) Effects of past and current drought on the composition and diversity of soil microbial communities. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 131: 28-39.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2018.12.022
Drought is well known to have strong effects on the composition and activity of soil microbial communities, and may be determined by drought history and drought duration, but the characterisation and prediction of these effects remains challenging. This is because soil microbial communities that have previously been exposed to drought may change less in response to subsequent drought events, due to the selection of drought-resistant taxa. We set up a 10-level drought experiment to test the effect of water stress on the composition and diversity of soil bacterial and fungal communities. We also investigated the effect of a previous long-term drought on communities in soils with different historical precipitation regimes. Saplings of the holm oak, Quercus ilex L., were included to assess the impact of plant presence on the effects of the drought treatment. The composition and diversity of the soil microbial communities were analysed using DNA amplicon sequencing of bacterial and fungal markers and the measurement of phospholipid fatty acids. The experimental drought affected the bacterial community much more than the fungal community, decreasing alpha diversity and proportion of total biomass, whereas fungal diversity tended to increase. The experimental drought altered the relative abundances of specific taxa of both bacteria and fungi, and in many cases these effects were modified by the presence of the plant and soil origin. Soils with a history of drought had higher overall bacterial alpha diversity at the end of the experimental drought, presumably because of adaptation of the bacterial community to drought conditions. However, some bacterial taxa (e.g. Chloroflexi) and fungal functional groups (plant pathogens and saprotrophic yeasts) decreased in abundance more in the pre-droughted soils. Our results suggest that soil communities will not necessarily be able to maintain the same functions during more extreme or more frequent future droughts, when functions are influenced by community composition. Drought is likely to continue to affect community composition, even in soils that are acclimated to it, tending to increase the proportion of fungi and reduce the proportion and diversity of bacteria. © 2018 Elsevier Ltd
Bes M., Corbera J., Sayol F., Bagaria G., Jover M., Preece C., Viza A., Sabater F., Fernández-Martínez M. (2018) On the influence of water conductivity, pH and climate on bryophyte assemblages in Catalan semi-natural springs. Journal of Bryology. : 1-10.LinkDoi: 10.1080/03736687.2018.1446484
Bryophytes are some of the most sensitive biological indicators of environmental change. Springs have a significant presence of bryophytes and so are ideal habitats for studying their relationship with the environment. We tested whether bryophyte assemblages can be explained with macro-, meso- and micro-ecological variables (i.e. seasonal climate, altitude, water pH and conductivity) sampling bryophytes from 198 semi-natural springs distributed along montane regions in the north-eastern Iberian Peninsula. We tested the influence of environmental variables on bryophyte assemblages in springs using sparse Partial Least Squares. Our results show that variability in bryophyte assemblages is explained by seasonal climate (temperature and precipitation from winter, spring, summer and autumn and temperature and precipitation seasonality), altitude and water conductivity. The results obtained by the present study will be useful for predicting bryophyte diversity in springs using simple and easy to obtain variables such as climate, water pH and conductivity. © British Bryological Society 2018
Gargallo-Garriga A., Preece C., Sardans J., Oravec M., Urban O., Peñuelas J. (2018) Root exudate metabolomes change under drought and show limited capacity for recovery. Scientific Reports. 8: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1038/s41598-018-30150-0
Root exudates comprise a large variety of compounds released by plants into the rhizosphere, including low-molecular-weight primary metabolites (particularly saccharides, amino acids and organic acids) and secondary metabolites (phenolics, flavonoids and terpenoids). Changes in exudate composition could have impacts on the plant itself, on other plants, on soil properties (e.g. amount of soil organic matter), and on soil organisms. The effects of drought on the composition of root exudates, however, have been rarely studied. We used an ecometabolomics approach to identify the compounds in the exudates of Quercus ilex (holm oak) under an experimental drought gradient and subsequent recovery. Increasing drought stress strongly affected the composition of the exudate metabolome. Plant exudates under drought consisted mainly of secondary metabolites (71% of total metabolites) associated with plant responses to drought stress, whereas the metabolite composition under recovery shifted towards a dominance of primary metabolites (81% of total metabolites). These results strongly suggested that roots exude the most abundant root metabolites. The exudates were changed irreversibly by the lack of water under extreme drought conditions, and the plants could not recover. © 2018, The Author(s).
Preece C., Farré-Armengol G., Llusià J., Peñuelas J. (2018) Thirsty tree roots exude more carbon. Tree Physiology. 38: 690-695.LinkDoi: 10.1093/treephys/tpx163
Root exudation is an important input of carbon into soils and affects plant and soil communities, but little is known about the effect of climatic factors such as drought on exudation, and its ability to recover. We studied the impact of increasing drought on root exudation and its subsequent recovery in the Mediterranean tree species Quercus ilex L. in a greenhouse study by measuring the amount of total organic carbon in exudates. The amount of exudation per unit root area increased with drought duration and was 21% higher under the most extreme drought scenario compared with the non-droughted control. The amount of root exudation did not differ between the treatments following 6 weeks of re-watering, indicating a strong capacity for recovery in this species. We concluded that drought could affect the amount of root exudation, which could in turn have a large impact on microbial activity in the rhizosphere, and alter these microbial communities, at least in the short term. This tree species may be able to return to normal levels of root exudation after a drought event, but long-term exudate-mediated impacts on Mediterranean forest soils may be an unforeseen effect of drought. © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.
Peñuelas, J., Sardans, J., Filella, I., Estiarte, M., Llusià, J., Ogaya, R., Carnicer, J., Bartrons, M., Rivas-Ubach, A., Grau, O., Peguero, G., Margalef, O., Pla-Rabés, S., Stefanescu, C., Asensio, D., Preece, C., Liu, L., Verger, A., Barbeta, A., Achotegui-Castells, A., Gargallo-Garriga, A., Sperlich, D., Farré-Armengol, G., Fernández-Martínez, M., Liu, D., Zhang, C., Urbina, I., Camino-Serrano, M., Vives-Ingla, M., Stocker, B.D., Balzarolo, M., Guerrieri, R., Peaucelle, M., Marañón-Jiménez, S., Bórnez-Mejías, K., Mu, Z., Descals, A., Castellanos, A., Terradas, J. (2017) Impacts of global change on Mediterranean forests and their services. Forests. 8: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.3390/f8120463
Preece, C., Clamp, N.F., Warham, G., Charles, M., Rees, M., Jones, G., Osborne, C.P. (2017) Cereal progenitors differ in stand harvest characteristics from related wild grasses. Journal of Ecology. : 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12905
Zhang, C., Preece, C., Filella, I., Farré-Armengol, G., Peñuelas, J. (2017) Assessment of the response of photosynthetic activity of Mediterranean evergreen oaks to enhanced drought stress and recovery by using PRI and R690/R630. Forests. 8: 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.3390/f8100386
Peñuelas, J., Sardans, J., Filella, I., Estiarte, M., Llusià, J., Ogaya, R., Carnicer, J., Bartrons, M., Rivas-Ubach, A., Grau, O., Peguero, G., Margalef, O., Pla-Rabés, S., Stefanescu, C., Asensio, D., Preece, C., Liu, L., Verger, A., Rico, L., Barbeta, A., Achotegui-Castells, A., Gargallo-Garriga, A., Sperlich, D., Farré-Armengol, G., Fernández-Martínez, M., Liu, D., Zhang, C., Urbina, I., Camino, M., Vives, M., Nadal-Sala, D., Sabaté, S., Gracia, C., Terradas, J. (2016) Assessment of the impacts of climate change on Mediterranean terrestrial ecosystems based on data from field experiments and long-term monitored field gradients in Catalonia. Environmental and Experimental Botany. : 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1016/j.envexpbot.2017.05.012
Preece, C., Livarda, A., Christin, P.-A., Wallace, M., Martin, G., Charles, M., Jones, G., Rees, M., Osborne, C.P. (2016) How did the domestication of Fertile Crescent grain crops increase their yields?. Functional Ecology. : 0-0.LinkDoi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12760
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