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Environ Manage. 1997 Mar;21(2):233-8.

Effects of Recreational Impacts on Soil Microbial Communities

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1
Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of MontanaMissoula, Montana 59812, USA

Abstract

/ The functional diversity of soil microbial communities in heavilyimpacted subalpine campsites and adjacent undisturbed areas was comparedusing the Biolog method of carbon utilization profiles. Principal componentsanalysis of patterns and level of microbial activity indicate that microbialcommunities differentiate in response to disturbance in the top 6 cm of soil,while below 6 cm there were no recognizable differences between disturbed andundisturbed soil communities. Analysis of the factors that differentiate theupper microbial communities between disturbed and undisturbed sites revealedthat the percent of total carbon sources utilized was significantly less inthe disturbed (54%) than in undisturbed areas (95%). Carbonsubstrates important in the discrimination between soil communities includeplant, invertebrate, and microbial derivatives that could not be metabolizedby microbial communities from disturbed sites. Comparisons of totalculturable actinomycetes, bacteria, and fungi reveal no difference in overallnumber of colony forming units (CFU) on disturbed and undisturbed sites, buta marked decrease in actinomycetes on disturbed sites. Biolog andspread-plate data combined indicate a shift in the structure and function ofthe microbial community in campsite soils, which may be a useful indicator ofsoil community disturbance.KEY WORDS: Microbial functional diversity; Anthropogenic disturbance;Recreational impacts; Carbon source profile; Subalpine.

PMID:
9008074

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