Compared to conventional, ecological intensive management promotes beneficial proteolytic soil microbial communities for agro-ecosystem functioning under climate change-induced rain regimes

Lori, Martina; Piton, Gabin; Symanczik, Sarah; Legay, Nicolas; Brussaard, Lijbert; Jaenicke, Sebastian; Nascimento, Eduardo; Reis, Filipa; Sousa, José Paulo; Mäder, Paul; Gattinger, Andreas; Clément, Jean Christophe; Foulquier, Arnaud


Projected climate change and rainfall variability will affect soil microbial communities, biogeochemical cycling and agriculture. Nitrogen (N) is the most limiting nutrient in agroecosystems and its cycling and availability is highly dependent on microbial driven processes. In agroecosystems, hydrolysis of organic nitrogen (N) is an important step in controlling soil N availability. We analyzed the effect of management (ecological intensive vs. conventional intensive) on N-cycling processes and involved microbial communities under climate change-induced rain regimes. Terrestrial model ecosystems originating from agroecosystems across Europe were subjected to four different rain regimes for 263 days. Using structural equation modelling we identified direct impacts of rain regimes on N-cycling processes, whereas N-related microbial communities were more resistant. In addition to rain regimes, management indirectly affected N-cycling processes via modifications of N-related microbial community composition. Ecological intensive management promoted a beneficial N-related microbial community composition involved in N-cycling processes under climate change-induced rain regimes. Exploratory analyses identified phosphorus-associated litter properties as possible drivers for the observed management effects on N-related microbial community composition. This work provides novel insights into mechanisms controlling agro-ecosystem functioning under climate change.