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Title: Flooding and prolonged drought have differential legacy impacts on soil nitrogen cycling, microbial communities and plant productivity
Contributor(s): Nguyen, Linh T T  (author)orcid ; Osanai, Yui  (author)orcid ; Anderson, Ian C (author); Bange, Michael P (author); Tissue, David T (author); Singh, Brajesh K (author)
Publication Date: 2018-10
Early Online Version: 2018-08-11
DOI: 10.1007/s11104-018-3774-7
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Abstract: Background and aims: Extreme climate events, including flooding and prolonged drought, may establish long-lasting (legacy) effects on soil abiotic and biotic properties, potentially influencing soil N-cycling, microbial communities, and plant productivity. Nitrogen (N) fertilizer often stimulates plant growth, but it remains unknown whether N addition can alleviate the impact of legacy drought or waterlogging events on crops. Our aim was to assess the interactive effects of legacy extreme climate events and N-addition on these processes. Methods: Using cotton as a model system, soils previously exposed to waterlogging and prolonged drought were used to examine potential legacy impacts of extreme climate on soil N process rates, abundance and structure of associated microbial communities, and cotton growth and productivity under different levels of N fertilizer application (0, 100, 200 and 300 kg N/ha). Results: The deleterious legacy effects of prolonged drought on plant productivity were due to negative impacts on microbial abundance and community structure, and soil nutrient availability, thereby negatively influencing the rate of nitrification, and consequently plant available N. The legacy impacts of prolonged drought persisted throughout the experiment despite fertiliser applications of up to 300 kg of N/ha. The only observed legacy impacts of waterlogging were low NO₃- levels in soils without N-addition and shifts in the abundance and structure of the N₂O-reducing community. Conclusions: There were strong legacy impacts of prolonged drought, but minor legacy impacts of waterlogging, on soils and crop yields which could not be fully counteracted by the high rates of N fertilizer application. This study provides critical knowledge contributing to the development of adaptation and soil N management strategies to minimize the loss of farm productivity, within the context of increased frequencies and intensities of extreme weather events.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Grant Details: ARC/DP170104634
Source of Publication: Plant and Soil, 431(1-2), p. 371-387
Publisher: Springer Netherlands
Place of Publication: The Netherlands
ISSN: 0032-079X
Field of Research (FOR): 060504 Microbial Ecology
069902 Global Change Biology
070108 Sustainable Agricultural Development
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960307 Effects of Climate Change and Variability on Australia (excl. Social Impacts)
820301 Cotton
960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
Appears in Collections:Journal Article
School of Environmental and Rural Science

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