The Effects of some soil properties (soil nitrogen forms and moisture) on community structure in different mediterranean plant communities

4 June 2019

Elmas, Emire; Kutbay, Hamdi

Mediterranean ecosystems are the second hotspot area after tropical rain forests. Water and nutrient availability and the degree of stress and disturbances are the most effective factors on ecosystem functioning in these communities. Combination of these ecological factors effects the settlement ability of plant community types such as maquis or phrygana which consist of plants having different functional characters. Mediterranean ecosystems will be more affected by global climate change because they have been already adopted to stressfull environments. Therefore, it is important to understand community dynamics for effective conservation. In the present study, we investigated relationships between soil moisture, nitrogen forms and floristic community structuring in Quercus ilex L., Erica arborea L. and Sarcopoterium spinosum (L.) Spach communities, representing different successional stages, distributed on Sinop Peninsula (Turkey) as Mediterranean enclaves. Soil moisture, ammonium, nitrate and nitrite contents were determined seasonally. The observed differences within and between communities through seasons were tested by Two-way ANOVA followed by the post-hoc Tukey test. Biotic data that were determined previously as a part of the same project were used to analyse the relationship between soil parameters and functional community structure via Principal Correlation Analysis. Significant differences were established within and between communities seasonally for determining soil variables. This study showed that there are different relationships between soil moisture, nitrogen forms and community structure in Mediterranean plant communities representing different successional stages. Differentiation in vegetation structure in forward of successional stages cause changes especially in the water and nitrate content of soil, and these changes affect the continuity of community structure in Mediterranean plant communities.