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Title: Factors affecting the community structure of bacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and nematodes in the soil of the machair agricultural system
Author: Vink, Stefanie Nicoline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2710 5697
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2010
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Machair is a habitat found predominantly in coastal areas of the north–west of Scotland and is characterised by a low-input, rotational arable system interspersed with semi-natural grasslands. Land management is an essential part of the machair system as both intensification and abandonment threaten its future. Little is known about this system in terms of its below ground communities. A survey was conducted over a three season, two year period for molecular determination of bacterial, AM fungal and nematode community structure. Cropped, fallow and undisturbed grassland were sampled; soil and roots associated with two commonly occurring species and composite soil samples were collected. In addition the effect of edaphic factors and vegetation composition on soil communities was assessed, both in the field and in greenhouse experiments. Results show that although all of the examined factors impacted the community structure of the three soil groups to some degree, the strength of this effect varied between groups. Bacterial communities were mainly affected by temporal factors, particularly year, possibly due to variation in soil moisture content. AM fungal community structure also varied considerably with season, but the mechanisms behind this were less obvious, with both abiotic and plant factors playing a role. AM fungal community structure varied with different plant hosts but also with soil moisture content. In contrast to both bacteria and AM fungi, nematode communities showed a strong response to land use although temporal factors and differences between locations were also observed. Grasslands harboured a distinctly different community structure from cropped and fallow, largely as a result of variation in bacterivores and carnivores. Vegetation composition and soil moisture content were also found to affect nematode community structure. This study has revealed that machair soil communities seem to be highly complex, dynamic and adapted to the changeable conditions that persist.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Machairs ; Soil ; Sand dune ecology ; Pasture ecology