Soil microbial biomass, respiration rate, and temperature dependence on a successional glacier foreland in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard

Yukiko Sakata Bekku, Takayuki Nakatsubo, Atsushi Kume, Hiroshi Koizumi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

45 Citations (Scopus)


We examined soil microbial activities, i.e., biomass, respiration rate, and temperature dependence of the respiration on a glacier foreland in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, Norway. We collected soil samples from 4 study sites that were set up along a primary succession (Site 1, the youngest, to Site 4, the oldest). Microbial biomass measured with the SIR method increased with successional age (55 to 724μg Cbiomass g-1 soil d.w. from Site 1 to Site 4). The microbial respiration rate of the soil was measured in a laboratory with an open-flow infrared gas-analyzer system, changing the temperature from 2° to 20°C at 3-4° intervals. The microbial respiration rate increased exponentially with the temperature at all sites. The temperature dependence (Q10) of the microbial respiration rate ranged from 2.2 to 4.1. The microbial respiration rates at a given temperature increased with succession as a step change (0.48, 0.43, 1.26, and 1.29μg C g-1soil h-1 at 8°C from Site 1 to Site 4, respectively). However, the substrate-specific respiration rate (respiration rate per gram soil carbon) decreased with successional age (0.034 to 0.006μg C mg-1Csoil h-1 from Site 1 to Site 4). A comparison of these respiratory properties with other ecosystems suggested that soil microorganisms in arctic soils have a high potential for decomposition when compared to those of other temperate ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-399
Number of pages5
JournalArctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Nov
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry

Cite this