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Title: Unveiling Microbial Carbon Cycling Processes in Key U.S. Soils using ''Omics''

Soils process and store large amounts of C; however, considerable uncertainty still exists about the details of that influence microbial partitioning of C into soil C pools, and what are the main influential forces that control the fraction of the C input that is stabilized. The soil microbial community is genotypically and phenotypically diverse. Despite our ability to predict the kinds of regional environmental changes that will accompany global climate change, it is not clear how the microbial community will respond to climate-induced modification of precipitation and inter-precipitation intervals, and if this response will affect the fate of C deposited into soil by the local plant community. Part of this uncertainty lies with our ignorance of how the microbial community adapts genotypically and physiologically to changes in soil moisture brought about by shifts in precipitation. Our overarching goal is to harness the power of multiple meta-omics tools to gain greater understanding of the functioning of whole-soil microbial communities and their role in C cycling. We will do this by meeting the following three objectives: 1. Further develop and optimize a combination of meta-omics approaches to study how environmental factors affect microbially-mediated C cycling processes. 2. Determine the impacts of long-termmore » changes in precipitation timing on microbial C cycling using an existing long-term field manipulation of a tallgrass prairie soil. 3. Conduct laboratory experiments that vary moisture and C inputs to confirm field observations of the linkages between microbial communities and C cycling processes. We took advantage of our state-of-the-art expertise in community “omics” to better understand the functioning soil C cycling within the Great Prairie ecosystem, including our ongoing Konza Prairie soil metagenome flagship project at JGI and the unique rainfall manipulation plots (RaMPs) established at this site more than a decade ago. We employed a systems biology approach, considering the complex soil microbial community as a functioning system and using state-of-the-art metatranscriptomic, metaproteomic, and metabolomic approaches. These omics tools were refined, applied to field experiments, and confirmed with controlled laboratory studies. Our experiments were designed to specifically identify microbial community members and processes that are instrumental players in processing of C in the prairie soils and how these processes are impacted by wetting and drying events. This project addresses a key ecosystem in the United States that current climate models predict will be subjected to dramatic changes in rainfall patterns as a result of global warming. Currently Mollisols, such as those of the tallgrass prairie, are thought to sequester more C than is released into the atmosphere, but it is not known what changes in rainfall patterns will have on future C fluxes. Through an analysis of the molecular response of the soil microbial community to shifts in precipitation cycles that are accompanied by phenologically driven changes in quality of plant C rhizodeposits, we gained deeper insight into how the metabolism of microbes has adapted to different precipitation regimes and the impact of this adaption on the fate of C deposited into soil. In doing so, we addressed key questions about the microbial cycling of C in soils that have been identified by the DOE.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [3] ;  [4]
  1. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
  2. Kansas State Univ., Manhattan, KS (United States)
  3. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
  4. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES soil, carbon cycle, metagenomics, metatranscriptomics, metaproteomics