skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Applying population and community ecology theory to advance understanding of belowground biogeochemistry

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [2];  [1];  [3];
  1. School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University, New Haven CT 06511 USA
  2. Department of Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire, Durham NH 03824 USA
  3. Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder CO 80307 USA, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 80309 USA
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1401513
Grant/Contract Number:
TES DE-SC0014374
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Publisher's Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Ecology Letters
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 20; Journal Issue: 2; Related Information: CHORUS Timestamp: 2017-10-20 17:08:05; Journal ID: ISSN 1461-023X
Publisher:
Wiley-Blackwell
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Buchkowski, Robert W., Bradford, Mark A., Grandy, Andrew Stuart, Schmitz, Oswald J., Wieder, William R., and van der Putten, ed., Wim. Applying population and community ecology theory to advance understanding of belowground biogeochemistry. United Kingdom: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.1111/ele.12712.
Buchkowski, Robert W., Bradford, Mark A., Grandy, Andrew Stuart, Schmitz, Oswald J., Wieder, William R., & van der Putten, ed., Wim. Applying population and community ecology theory to advance understanding of belowground biogeochemistry. United Kingdom. doi:10.1111/ele.12712.
Buchkowski, Robert W., Bradford, Mark A., Grandy, Andrew Stuart, Schmitz, Oswald J., Wieder, William R., and van der Putten, ed., Wim. Mon . "Applying population and community ecology theory to advance understanding of belowground biogeochemistry". United Kingdom. doi:10.1111/ele.12712.
@article{osti_1401513,
title = {Applying population and community ecology theory to advance understanding of belowground biogeochemistry},
author = {Buchkowski, Robert W. and Bradford, Mark A. and Grandy, Andrew Stuart and Schmitz, Oswald J. and Wieder, William R. and van der Putten, ed., Wim},
abstractNote = {},
doi = {10.1111/ele.12712},
journal = {Ecology Letters},
number = 2,
volume = 20,
place = {United Kingdom},
year = {Mon Jan 23 00:00:00 EST 2017},
month = {Mon Jan 23 00:00:00 EST 2017}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1111/ele.12712

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 4works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:
  • Cryptic belowground organisms are difficult to observe and their responses to global changes are not well understood. Nevertheless, there is reason to believe that interactions among above- and belowground communities may mediate ecosystem responses to global change. We used grassland mesocosms to manipulate the abundance of one important group of soil organisms, arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, and to study community and ecosystem responses to CO2 and N enrichment. After two growing seasons, biomass responses of plant communities were recorded, and soil community responses were measured using microscopy, phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) and community-level physiological profiles (CLPP). Ecosystem responses were examinedmore » by measuring net primary production (NPP), evapotranspiration, total soil organic matter (SOM), and extractable mineral N. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the causal relationships among treatments and response variables. We found that while CO2 and N tended to directly impact ecosystem functions (evapotranspiration and NPP, respectively), AM fungi indirectly impacted ecosystem functions by strongly influencing the composition of plant and soil communities. For example, the presence of AM fungi had a strong influence on other root and soil fungi and soil bacteria. We found that the mycotrophic status of the dominant plant species in the mesocosms determined whether the presence of AM fungi increased or decreased NPP. Mycotrophic grasses dominated the mesocosm communities during the first growing season, and thus, the mycorrhizal treatments had the highest NPP. In contrast, non-mycotrophic forbs were dominant during the second growing season and thus, the mycorrhizal treatments had the lowest NPP. The composition of the plant community strongly influenced soil N; and the composition of the soil organisms strongly influenced SOM accumulation in the mesocosms. These results show how linkages between above- and belowground communities can determine ecosystem responses to global change.« less
  • Fine roots acquire essential soil resources and mediate biogeochemical cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Estimates of carbon and nutrient allocation to build and maintain these structures remain uncertain due to challenges in consistent measurement and interpretation of fine-root systems. We define fine roots as all roots less than or equal to 2 mm in diameter, yet it is now recognized that this approach fails to capture the diversity of form and function observed among fine-root orders. We demonstrate how order-based and functional classification frameworks improve our understanding of dynamic root processes in ecosystems dominated by perennial plants. In these frameworks, finemore » roots are separated into either individual root orders or functionally defined into a shorter-lived absorptive pool and a longer-lived transport fine root pool. Furthermore, using these frameworks, we estimate that fine-root production and turnover represent 22% of terrestrial net primary production globally a ca. 30% reduction from previous estimates assuming a single fine-root pool. In the future we hope to develop tools to rapidly differentiate functional fine-root classes, explicit incorporation of mycorrhizal fungi in fine-root studies, and wider adoption of a two-pool approach to model fine roots provide opportunities to better understand belowground processes in the terrestrial biosphere.« less
  • Predicted increases in the frequency and intensity of droughts across the temperate biome have highlighted the need to examine the extent to which forests may differ in their sensitivity to water stress. At present, a rich body of literature exists on how leaf- and stem-level physiology influence tree drought responses; however, less is known regarding the dynamic interactions that occur below ground between roots and soil physical and biological factors. Hence, there is a need to better understand how and why processes occurring below ground influence forest sensitivity to drought. Here, we review what is known about tree species’ belowmore » ground strategies for dealing with drought, and how physical and biological characteristics of soils interact with rooting strategies to influence forest sensitivity to drought. Then, we highlight how a below ground perspective of drought can be used in models to reduce uncertainty in predicting the ecosystem consequences of droughts in forests. Lastly, we describe the challenges and opportunities associated with managing forests under conditions of increasing drought frequency and intensity, and explain how a below ground perspective on drought may facilitate improved forest management.« less
  • Soils are structurally heterogeneous across a wide range of spatio-temporal scales. Consequently, external environmental conditions do not have a uniform effect throughout the soil, resulting in a large diversity of micro-habitats. It has been suggested that soil function can be studied without explicit consideration of such fine detail, but recent research has indicated that the micro-scale distribution of organisms may be of importance for a mechanistic understanding of many soil functions. Due to a lack of techniques with adequate sensitivity for data collection at appropriate scales, the question 'How important are various soil processes acting at different scales for ecologicalmore » function?' is challenging to answer. The nano-scale secondary ion mass spectrometer (NanoSIMS) represents the latest generation of ion microprobes which link high-resolution microscopy with isotopic analysis. The main advantage of NanoSIMS over other secondary ion mass spectrometers is the ability to operate at high mass resolution, whilst maintaining both excellent signal transmission and spatial resolution ({approx}50 nm). NanoSIMS has been used previously in studies focusing on presolar materials from meteorites, in material science, biology, geology and mineralogy. Recently, the potential of NanoSIMS as a new tool in the study of biophysical interfaces in soils has been demonstrated. This paper describes the principles of NanoSIMS and discusses the potential of this tool to contribute to the field of biogeochemistry and soil ecology. Practical considerations (sample size and preparation, simultaneous collection of isotopes, mass resolution, isobaric interference and quantification of the isotopes of interest) are discussed. Adequate sample preparation avoiding biases in the interpretation of NanoSIMS data due to artifacts and identification of regions-of interest are of most concerns in using NanoSIMS as a new tool in biogeochemistry and soil ecology. Finally, we review the areas of research most likely to benefit from the high resolving power attainable with this new approach.« less