Volcanic deposits increase soil organic carbon storage. However, little is known about the effect of volcanic deposits on forest soil nitrogen (N) dynamics and microbial communities. We explored gross and net N transformation rates and microbial community structure using a phospholipid fatty acid (PLFA) method across eight forests with soils derived from different parent material in Japan. Volcanic mineral soils had approximately three-fold greater total N and inorganic N contents and gross nitrification, ammonium immobilization, and nitrate immobilization rates that were one order of magnitude higher than in non-volcanic soils. Moreover, volcanic mineral soils had a 1.7-fold lower N turnover rate, which was estimated as net N mineralization rate per soil N. This was likely caused by a higher gross N immobilization rate, potentially due to the mineral traits of volcanic soils. Volcanic mineral soils had approximately four- and three-fold greater microbial biomass-N and bacterial PLFA contents, respectively, and the fungal:bacterial PLFA ratio was lower in volcanic mineral soils than in non-volcanic soils. Microbial community structure, analyzed using non-metric multidimensional scaling, was distinct between volcanic and non-volcanic soils, and was significantly affected by soil characteristics. This study demonstrates that aside from soil carbon storage, volcanic deposits are related to increases in soil N immobilization, N content, bacterial biomass, and N transformation rates in forest ecosystems.
- Gross nitrogen transformations
- Nitrogen dynamics
- Volcanic soil
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science