Show simple item record

dc.contributor.authorSeitz, Taylor J.
dc.descriptionThesis (M.S.) University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2021en_US
dc.description.abstractThe effects of global climate change are accelerated and more pronounced in northern regions, and Alaska is at the forefront of that change. Permafrost, which underlies much of the Alaskan landscape, is rapidly thawing and degrading leading to shifts in hydrology, soil chemistry, and nutrient availability. As permafrost thaws, soil microbial communities have the potential to be influenced taxonomically and functionally. However, it is unclear how active layer microbial communities, which play a role in plant-microbe interactions, are affected by increasing soil disturbance, and how soil microbiomes can influence above ground plant communities. In this study, I aimed to understand how soil microbial communities from Interior Alaska are affected by increasing disturbance, and how they in turn drive the productivity of several plants found in boreal regions. Here I used a growth experiment and found that plant productivity was affected by the disturbance level of the microbial inoculant. Plants grown in soils inoculated with microbes associated with disturbed soils demonstrated significantly decreased productivity compared to plants inoculated with microbes from undisturbed soils. Through metagenomic sequencing, I observed broad scale shifts in community membership across the gradient of soil disturbance. I then continued to characterize the microbial communities used as inoculants in the greenhouse growth experiment through 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing. Microbial communities from disturbed soils were significantly more diverse than those from undisturbed soils, and the beta diversity of communities varied significantly based on the disturbance level. We found that within disturbance level community variation can be used to predict plant growth of bog blueberry, low-bush cranberry, and Labrador tea once the disturbance passes a threshold. These results suggest that as active layer microbial communities are affected by climate-driven soil disturbance, above ground plant communities may demonstrate decreased productivity, and consequently, decreased ecosystem health as the Arctic continues to warm.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipUniversity of Alaska Fairbanks Institute of Arctic Biology, Alaska IDeA Network of Biomedical Training (NIH P20GM103395), and Biomedical Learning and Student Training (NIH UL1GM118991, TL4GM118992, and RL5GM118990)en_US
dc.description.tableofcontentsIntroduction -- Chapter 1: Soil disturbance affects plant productivity via soil microbial community shifts -- Chapter 2: Unearthing shifts in microbial communities across a soil disturbance gradient -- Overall conclusion -- Appendix.en_US
dc.subjectSoil microbial ecologyen_US
dc.subjectPlant-microbe relationshipsen_US
dc.subjectSoil microbiologyen_US
dc.subjectUseful plantsen_US
dc.subjectBog blueberryen_US
dc.subjectVaccinium vitis-idaeaen_US
dc.subjectLedum groenlandicumen_US
dc.subjectLabrador teaen_US
dc.subjectExtreme environmentsen_US
dc.subjectInterior Alaskaen_US
dc.subject.otherMaster of Science in Biological Sciencesen_US
dc.titleSearching the soil: characterizing the effects of disturbance on soil microbial communities and plant productivityen_US
dc.identifier.departmentDepartment of Biology and Wildlifeen_US
dc.contributor.chairDrown, Devin M.
dc.contributor.committeeMulder, Christa
dc.contributor.committeeBriggs, Brandon

Files in this item


This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Biological Sciences
    Includes WIldlife Biology and other Biological Sciences. For Marine Biology see the Marine Sciences collection.

Show simple item record