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The impact of cover crops and crop residue removal on soil microbial community abundance, diversity and soil health in a medium-term cover crop field trial in Southwest Ontario

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Title: The impact of cover crops and crop residue removal on soil microbial community abundance, diversity and soil health in a medium-term cover crop field trial in Southwest Ontario
Author: Drummelsmith, John
Department: School of Environmental Sciences
Program: Environmental Sciences
Advisor: Dunfield, Kari
Abstract: Soil microorganisms are an important component of soil health and drive key biogeochemical processes. The objective was to assess the impacts of fall cover crops (CC), main crops (MC) and residue harvest on the abundance, diversity and function of bacteria and fungi over the growing season. A medium-term trial was established in a horticultural rotation with annual fall CCs. Microbial communities after winter wheat and tomatoes were examined. After MC harvest, CC treatments (none, oat, radish, rye, rye/radish mixture) were applied and plots were split for MC residue retention. Microbial abundances were quantified throughout the growing season with qPCR and sequenced annually with Illumina MiSeq. CCs significantly increased bacterial (rye, radish/rye) and fungal (radish, radish/rye) abundance compared to the no-cover control. PiCRUST and FUNGuild analysis found that bacterial and fungal diversity and functions were significantly impacted by MC species as well as increased by the inclusion of rye and radish.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/17755
Date: 2020-01
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