Ecosystem type drives tea litter decomposition and associated prokaryotic microbiome communities in freshwater and coastal wetlands at a continental scale

Trevathan-tackett, Stacey M., Kepfer-Rojas, Sebastian, Engelen, Aschwin H., York, Paul, Ola, Anne, Li, Jinquan, Kelleway, Jeffrey J., Jinks, Kristin I., Jackson, Emma L., Adame, Maria Fernanda, Pendall, Elise, Lovelock, Catherine E., Connolly, Rod M., Watson, Anne, Visby, Inger, Trethowan, Allison, Taylor, Ben, Roberts, Tessa N.B., Petch, Jane, Farrington, Lachlan, Djukic, Ika, and Macreadie, Peter I. (2021) Ecosystem type drives tea litter decomposition and associated prokaryotic microbiome communities in freshwater and coastal wetlands at a continental scale. Science of the Total Environment, 782. 146819.

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Wetland ecosystems are critical to the regulation of the global carbon cycle, and there is a high demand for data to improve carbon sequestration and emission models and predictions. Decomposition of plant litter is an important component of ecosystem carbon cycling, yet a lack of knowledge on decay rates in wetlands is an impediment to predicting carbon preservation. Here, we aim to fill this knowledge gap by quantifying the decomposition of standardised green and rooibos tea litter over one year within freshwater and coastal wetland soils across four climates in Australia. We also captured changes in the prokaryotic members of the tea-associated microbiome during this process. Ecosystem type drove differences in tea decay rates and prokaryotic microbiome community composition. Decomposition rates were up to 2-fold higher in mangrove and seagrass soils compared to freshwater wetlands and tidal marshes, in part due to greater leaching-related mass loss. For tidal marshes and freshwater wetlands, the warmer climates had 7–16% less mass remaining compared to temperate climates after a year of decomposition. The prokaryotic microbiome community composition was significantly different between substrate types and sampling times within and across ecosystem types. Microbial indicator analyses suggested putative metabolic pathways common across ecosystems were used to breakdown the tea litter, including increased presence of putative methylotrophs and sulphur oxidisers linked to the introduction of oxygen by root in-growth over the incubation period. Structural equation modelling analyses further highlighted the importance of incubation time on tea decomposition and prokaryotic microbiome community succession, particularly for rooibos tea that experienced a greater proportion of mass loss between three and twelve months compared to green tea. These results provide insights into ecosystem-level attributes that affect both the abiotic and biotic controls of belowground wetland carbon turnover at a continental scale, while also highlighting new decay dynamics for tea litter decomposing under longer incubations.

Item ID: 67576
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1879-1026
Keywords: 16S amplicon sequencing; carbon cycling; indicator analysis; labile; Recalcitrant; TeaComposition H2O
Copyright Information: © 2021 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
Funders: Deakin University (DU), Australian Research Council (ARC), Global Wetlands Project, Foundation for Science and Technology (FST)
Projects and Grants: DU Alfred Deakin Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, ARC DE210101029, FST project UIDB/04326/2020, FST contract CEECINST/00114/2018, ARC LP160100492
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 22:22
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3107 Microbiology > 310703 Microbial ecology @ 60%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 40%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 40%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1903 Mitigation of climate change > 190301 Climate change mitigation strategies @ 30%
19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1901 Adaptation to climate change > 190102 Ecosystem adaptation to climate change @ 30%
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