Abstract Title

How Soil pH Is Influenced by Differing Big Sagebrush Subspecies

Additional Funding Sources

This project was made possible by the NSF Idaho EPSCoR Program and by the National Science Foundation under Award No. OIA-1757324.

Abstract

Soil microbial biomass rivals the aboveground biomass of plants and animals across terrestrial biomes. Despite their importance to ecological functionality, a majority of bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic microbes remain unclassified by the scientific community. Which an increased availability of genomic tools, it is now possible to describe soil microbial communities and to learn which soil characteristics shape them. Among other important factors, pH has been shown to play a role in the prevalence and activity of many soil microbes, especially bacteria. Our study looked at how genotypic differences in two subspecies of big sagebrush and hybrid plants of those subspecies may be associated with differing edaphic conditions. We chose a site located within Castle Rocks State Park in southern Idaho to represent an ecotone between mountain and Wyoming big sagebrush. Samples were taken from five focal plants each at four plots along across an elevational gradient. While higher pH was observed at plots containing Wyoming big sagebrush, a large enough sample size was not collected to separate possible effects of elevation on soil conditions from possible effects of genotypic difference in our study species.

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How Soil pH Is Influenced by Differing Big Sagebrush Subspecies

Soil microbial biomass rivals the aboveground biomass of plants and animals across terrestrial biomes. Despite their importance to ecological functionality, a majority of bacterial, archaeal, and eukaryotic microbes remain unclassified by the scientific community. Which an increased availability of genomic tools, it is now possible to describe soil microbial communities and to learn which soil characteristics shape them. Among other important factors, pH has been shown to play a role in the prevalence and activity of many soil microbes, especially bacteria. Our study looked at how genotypic differences in two subspecies of big sagebrush and hybrid plants of those subspecies may be associated with differing edaphic conditions. We chose a site located within Castle Rocks State Park in southern Idaho to represent an ecotone between mountain and Wyoming big sagebrush. Samples were taken from five focal plants each at four plots along across an elevational gradient. While higher pH was observed at plots containing Wyoming big sagebrush, a large enough sample size was not collected to separate possible effects of elevation on soil conditions from possible effects of genotypic difference in our study species.