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Harvard Forest Symposium Abstract 2017

  • Title: Microbes as drivers of ecosystem response to global change
  • Primary Author: Eric Morrison (University of New Hampshire - Main Campus)
  • Additional Authors: Serita Frey (University of New Hampshire)
  • Abstract:

    Global change stressors such as soil warming and nitrogen (N) deposition alter the structure of microbial communities, including that of fungi inhabiting decomposing litter. We show that a change in the types of fungal species present in the community can affect ecosystem functioning. For example, long-term soil warming favors plant symbiotic fungi over free-living saprotrophic fungi in communities of decomposing litter – a change which alters the types of decomposition enzymes produced, and ultimately causes a shift in the chemical signature of litter residue that has implications for long-term soil carbon (C) dynamics. Long-term N deposition also changes the fungal community, but favors fungal species that are less active overall and produce less decomposition enzymes, resulting in accumulation of organic matter in soil. Understanding the autecologies of microbial species will enable prediction of these responses. For example, intrinsic genomic features of fungi predict growth rate and carbon use efficiency, traits that may determine community composition and effects on long-term soil C dynamics after exposure to global change.

  • Research Category: Large Experiments and Permanent Plot Studies; Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Dynamics