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Linking microbial activity and biogeochemical processes

Linking microbial activity and biogeochemical processes – how to measure function?

In order to advance our understanding on how microorganism control and affect biogeochemical cycles of elements there is a need to better link studies on microbial community composition/ activity with studies on process rates of biogeochemical processes.

Such knowledge is urgently needed to guide our understanding of ecosystem responses to environmental change and to provide new concepts for modelling purposes. One critical unknown for linking microbial community composition/activity to process rates is the resolution of this link.

There are various methods to study both, microbial activity as well as process rates, which provide different but complementary information. Some recent attention has been given to identify the most suitable microbiological approaches, but not so for approaches to investigate biogeochemical processes. Consequently, the aim of our synthesis project is to review existing biogeochemical approaches to investigate nitrogen cycle processes, with a focus on nitrification, and to discuss advantages and shortcomings of the various approaches. This synthesis will allow identifying the most useful approach to improve our understanding on microbial control on the biogeochemical nitrogen cycle. With this project we will bridge the gap between the disciplines of Biogeochemistry and Microbial Ecology, which is a prerequisite to advance our understanding on microbial controls of biogeochemical cycle.

Contact Tobias Rütting

Involved researchers: Per Bengtson