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Organic nutrient uptake by mycorrhizal fungi enhances ecosystem carbon storage:a model-based assessment

Orwin, Kate and Kirschbaum, Miko U. F. and St John, Mark G. and Dickie, Ian A. (2011) Organic nutrient uptake by mycorrhizal fungi enhances ecosystem carbon storage:a model-based assessment. Ecology Letters, 14 (5). pp. 493-502. ISSN 1461-023X

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Abstract

Understanding the factors that drive soil carbon (C) accumulation is of fundamental importance given their potential to mitigate climate change. Much research has focused on the relationship between plant traits and C sequestration, but no studies to date have quantitatively considered traits of their mycorrhizal symbionts. Here, we use a modelling approach to assess the contribution of an important mycorrhizal fungal trait, organic nutrient uptake, to soil C accumulation. We show that organic nutrient uptake can significantly increase soil C storage, and that it has a greater effect under nutrient-limited conditions. The main mechanism behind this was an increase in plant C fixation and subsequent increased C inputs to soil through mycorrhizal fungi. Reduced decomposition due to increased nutrient limitation of saprotrophs also played a role. Our results indicate that direct uptake of nutrients from organic pools by mycorrhizal fungi could have a significant effect on ecosystem C cycling and storage.

Item Type: Article
Journal or Publication Title: Ecology Letters
Uncontrolled Keywords: Ectomycorrhizas ; organic nutrient uptake ; ericoid mycorrhizas ; soil carbon storage ; microbial nutrient limitation ; model ; mycorrhizal traits ; MySCaN
Subjects: UNSPECIFIED
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 49142
Deposited By: ep_importer_pure
Deposited On: 22 Jul 2011 09:59
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2012 19:24
Identification Number:
URI: http://eprints.lancs.ac.uk/id/eprint/49142

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