This project is directed under the “Phenotypic Response of the Soil Microbiome to Environmental Perturbations” SFA project awarded to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The goal of the SFA is to attain a systems level understanding of the soil microbiome and its phenotypic response to changing moisture through a tractable, spatially explicit examination of the molecular and ecological interactions occurring among natural microbial consortia . We propose a set of integrated experimental and modeling approaches that together address the functional relationships of microbial communities that decompose soil matter and their response to changing moisture. We posit that moisture affects the physiology and interactions within and between consortia, resulting in predictable phenotypes. Through these experiments, we will be able to model and ultimately predict the soil microbiome's phenotypic response to changing moisture conditions, and to define the soil metaphenome as the product of community genomes (metagenomes) and environmental resources that are available .
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