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Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Vincent TARDY (2014)

Link between microbial diversity, microbial community stability and soil organic matter turnover,
Director : Lionel RANJARD,UMR Agroecology
Co-director : Pierre-Alain MARON, UMR Agroecology,
Doctoral school : Sciences & Health (E2S)

Link between microbial diversity, microbial community stability and soil organic matter turnover

Soil microbial communities act as important agents of the biological soil functioning, particularly through their involvements in the transformations of biogeochemical cycles (C, N, P…). In agro-ecosystems, the diversity of these communities is affected by perturbations associated to agricultural practices, and the significance of these modifications in terms of preservation of biological functioning and sustainability of agricultural systems has emerged as a central issue in the environmental sciences. Whereas the role of biodiversity has been well studied for macroorganisms, in particular for plants; the biodiversity/activity relationship is still largely unknown for soil microorganisms. However, in the current agro-ecological movement, this knowledge is needed to define new agricultural practices including a best management of microbial diversity for the sustainable use of agro-ecosystems.

In this context, the objective of this Phd was to test the significance of microbial diversity for the stability (resistance/resilience) and the activity of microbial community (bacteria and fungi) involved in the turnover of soil organic matter, a major function for soil fertility, environment quality and global changes. From an experimental point of view, these issues were addressed by coupling laboratory with field experiments. In a first work, by manipulating microbial diversity in laboratory condition, we have shown that the stability of both microbial genetic structure and activity in response to different perturbations is positively linked to microbial diversity (i.e. number of species). This link was then validated by a sampling based on a field experiment that allowed us to demonstrate that (i) the soil microbial diversity can be modulated (increased or decreased) depending the intensity of land use management, and (ii) the mineralization of organic matter is more intense in the soil with the highest level of diversity. Finally, thanks to an experiment carried out in the field (SOERE-ACBB, Lusignan), we showed that the response of bacterial and fungal communities to wheat residues supply in terms of successions of microbial populations and activities of organic matter mineralization depends on the soil management history.

These works provide new insights into the significance of microbial diversity (richness, composition) for the stability and the activity of communities involved in the soil organic matter turnover. They also suggest that the modulation of the diversity of soil microbial communities by agricultural practices, past or present, can significantly affect the turnover of soil organic matter.