Microbial responses to warming enhance soil carbon loss following translocation across a tropical forest elevation gradient

Nottingham, A.T. and Whitaker, J. and Ostle, N.J. and Bardgett, R.D. and McNamara, N.P. and Fierer, N. and Salinas, N. and Ccahuana, A.J.Q. and Turner, B.L. and Meir, P. (2019) Microbial responses to warming enhance soil carbon loss following translocation across a tropical forest elevation gradient. Ecology Letters, 22 (11). pp. 1889-1899. ISSN 1461-023X

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Abstract

Tropical soils contain huge carbon stocks, which climate warming is projected to reduce by stimulating organic matter decomposition, creating a positive feedback that will promote further warming. Models predict that the loss of carbon from warming soils will be mediated by microbial physiology, but no empirical data are available on the response of soil carbon and microbial physiology to warming in tropical forests, which dominate the terrestrial carbon cycle. Here we show that warming caused a considerable loss of soil carbon that was enhanced by associated changes in microbial physiology. By translocating soils across a 3000 m elevation gradient in tropical forest, equivalent to a temperature change of ± 15 °C, we found that soil carbon declined over 5 years by 4% in response to each 1 °C increase in temperature. The total loss of carbon was related to its original quantity and lability, and was enhanced by changes in microbial physiology including increased microbial carbon-use-efficiency, shifts in community composition towards microbial taxa associated with warmer temperatures, and increased activity of hydrolytic enzymes. These findings suggest that microbial feedbacks will cause considerable loss of carbon from tropical forest soils in response to predicted climatic warming this century.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Ecology Letters
Additional Information:
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Nottingham, A. T., Whitaker, J. , Ostle, N. J., Bardgett, R. D., McNamara, N. P., Fierer, N. , Salinas, N. , Ccahuana, A. J., Turner, B. L. and Meir, P. (2019), Microbial responses to warming enhance soil carbon loss following translocation across a tropical forest elevation gradient. Ecol Lett. doi:10.1111/ele.13379 which has been published in final form at https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/ele.13379 This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/1100/1105
Subjects:
ID Code:
136889
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
01 Oct 2019 00:57
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
29 Sep 2020 05:14