Articles | Volume 9, issue 1
09 Dec 2009
 | 09 Dec 2009

Manipulation of soil biota in ecological research

W.-M. He and Q.-G. Cui

Abstract. Manipulation of soil biota, such as soil sterilization, may have complex effects as they alter soil properties as well as microorganism communities. To assess the effects of such manipulation, we conducted an experiment using three sterilizing approaches, two soil types, and two plant species to identify the problems that may occur when different sterilizing approaches are used. The sterilizing treatments decreased growth of plants and resulted in large changes in soil nutrients and pH. Such effects varied with the approach followed. Our data suggest that studied effects on soil biota may be misleading if we fail to consider such changes in the soil.