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Title: Documenting the function of non-cultivated microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems

Abstract

The terrestrial biosphere contains a large fraction of global carbon and nearly 70% of the organic carbon in these systems is found in soils. Global changes in atmospheric CO2, temperature, precipitation, and ecosystem N inputs, are expected to impact primary production and carbon inputs to soils, but it remains difficult to predict the response of soil processes to anthropogenic change. Models that predict soil C-cycling as a function of ecosystem properties do not explain well variation in soil processes. Our difficulty in predicting the response of soil processes to environmental change suggests a need for a greater understanding of the biotic mechanisms that govern the soil C-cycle. Changes in microbial community structure and function have been proposed to impact soil C-cycling. However, our ability to predict the impacts of these changes on terrestrial ecosystems is constrained by our limited understanding of mechanisms that drive microbial processes in soil systems. We have applied a newly developed approach of Microbial Food Web Mapping to chart the carbon assimilation dynamics of microbial taxa in soils. This method made it possible to track different classes of 13C-labeled substrates into the DNA of nearly every member of the soil community simultaneously over time. Microbial Foodmore » Web Mapping was used to identify and characterize microbial taxa that fill key roles in the soil carbon cycle. We mapped the assimilation of carbon into thousands of discrete soil microorganisms as a function of soil carbon content and pH. In so doing we characterized assimilatory carbon metabolism, an essential component of soil C-cycling, for a vast array of uncultivated soil microorganisms. Further, we characterized the spatial and temporal dynamics of these microorganisms across a series of sites representing variation in soil characteristics. This project revealed fundamental aspects of soil C-cycling and provided ecological and metabolic insights on diverse uncultivated soil organisms that are widespread and play major roles in the global C-cycle. The genetic capacity of microbial communities can be studied through ‘omic approaches but it remains difficult to make direct links between the genetic capacity of microorganisms and their function in the soil C-cycle. Microbial Food Web Mapping makes it possible to link gene sequences to soil C-cycle processes as they occur in soil. This approach allows us to characterize the activity of non-cultivated microorganisms in a range of terrestrial systems. This data will be used to build a base of information about the role of non-cultivated organisms in critical C-cycle processes in terrestrial ecosystems and will provide insight on the manner in which soil communities metabolize soil organic matter. The results generated by this project will improve our ability to examine the impacts of management decisions, soil history, and environmental change on the behavior of microbial communities in terrestrial ecosystems, revealing the ecological mechanisms by which microbes regulate both C mineralization and carbon retention in soils, and improving our ability to predict changes in terrestrial ecosystem processes in the face of accelerating global change.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Cornell University
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23). Biological Systems Science Division
OSTI Identifier:
1483845
Report Number(s):
DOE-Buckley-10558
DOE Contract Number:  
SC0010558
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; 59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; soil microbial genomic carbon communiy

Citation Formats

Buckley, Daniel H. Documenting the function of non-cultivated microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems. United States: N. p., 2018. Web. doi:10.2172/1483845.
Buckley, Daniel H. Documenting the function of non-cultivated microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems. United States. doi:10.2172/1483845.
Buckley, Daniel H. Thu . "Documenting the function of non-cultivated microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems". United States. doi:10.2172/1483845. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1483845.
@article{osti_1483845,
title = {Documenting the function of non-cultivated microorganisms in terrestrial ecosystems},
author = {Buckley, Daniel H.},
abstractNote = {The terrestrial biosphere contains a large fraction of global carbon and nearly 70% of the organic carbon in these systems is found in soils. Global changes in atmospheric CO2, temperature, precipitation, and ecosystem N inputs, are expected to impact primary production and carbon inputs to soils, but it remains difficult to predict the response of soil processes to anthropogenic change. Models that predict soil C-cycling as a function of ecosystem properties do not explain well variation in soil processes. Our difficulty in predicting the response of soil processes to environmental change suggests a need for a greater understanding of the biotic mechanisms that govern the soil C-cycle. Changes in microbial community structure and function have been proposed to impact soil C-cycling. However, our ability to predict the impacts of these changes on terrestrial ecosystems is constrained by our limited understanding of mechanisms that drive microbial processes in soil systems. We have applied a newly developed approach of Microbial Food Web Mapping to chart the carbon assimilation dynamics of microbial taxa in soils. This method made it possible to track different classes of 13C-labeled substrates into the DNA of nearly every member of the soil community simultaneously over time. Microbial Food Web Mapping was used to identify and characterize microbial taxa that fill key roles in the soil carbon cycle. We mapped the assimilation of carbon into thousands of discrete soil microorganisms as a function of soil carbon content and pH. In so doing we characterized assimilatory carbon metabolism, an essential component of soil C-cycling, for a vast array of uncultivated soil microorganisms. Further, we characterized the spatial and temporal dynamics of these microorganisms across a series of sites representing variation in soil characteristics. This project revealed fundamental aspects of soil C-cycling and provided ecological and metabolic insights on diverse uncultivated soil organisms that are widespread and play major roles in the global C-cycle. The genetic capacity of microbial communities can be studied through ‘omic approaches but it remains difficult to make direct links between the genetic capacity of microorganisms and their function in the soil C-cycle. Microbial Food Web Mapping makes it possible to link gene sequences to soil C-cycle processes as they occur in soil. This approach allows us to characterize the activity of non-cultivated microorganisms in a range of terrestrial systems. This data will be used to build a base of information about the role of non-cultivated organisms in critical C-cycle processes in terrestrial ecosystems and will provide insight on the manner in which soil communities metabolize soil organic matter. The results generated by this project will improve our ability to examine the impacts of management decisions, soil history, and environmental change on the behavior of microbial communities in terrestrial ecosystems, revealing the ecological mechanisms by which microbes regulate both C mineralization and carbon retention in soils, and improving our ability to predict changes in terrestrial ecosystem processes in the face of accelerating global change.},
doi = {10.2172/1483845},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2018},
month = {11}
}