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Microbial responses to drought and drought cycles in soil (MICRODRY)

A BECC Action Group

Terrestrial ecosystems will be exposed to more extreme fluctuations in precipitation and temperatures generating intense drought cycles. This will have a profound effect on the functioning of ecosystems. Microbial communities are the agents that control decomposition of organic matter (OM) which, alongside plant photosynthesis, dominates the terrestrial contribution to the global carbon (C) cycle. Water availability is one of the strongest controllers of microbial activity. To predict how biogeochemistry will respond to climate change induced drought and dry-spells, it is urgent to understand how the microbial community and processes they regulate are influenced by changes in water availability in both experimental model systems and in field-scale experiments in intact ecosystems.

This is a prerequisite to develop mechanistic predictive power that can be integrated into ecosystem and global models, and thereby parameterise how the biogeosphere will respond to environmental and climate change. This action group will work to better integrate relevant researchers and groups within BECC into a focus effort themed on the impact of drought and drought cycles. 

The action group will organize workshops, a special issue and science briefs as some of the outcome. 

  • A minisymposium on "Ecosystem process feedbacks to climate change" will be held in Lund in June 15th, including keynote presentations by Prof Richard Bardgett, Prof. Riikka Rinnan, Prof. P. Ambus, opportunities for poster presentations, etc.
  • A trail-blazing project will bring empirical ecologists (department of Biology, LU) together with ecosystem modellers (Dept INES, Lund) in an "Analysis of Century”. Built in assumptions about ecosystem process dependence on moisture and temperature will be assessed and revised with newly established system specific parameters, to investigate the implications for Ecosystem C budgets.

Contact

Johannes Rousk,  Lund University
Dept of Biology, MEMEG
personal webpage