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Title: Sphagnum physiology in the context of changing climate: emergent influences of genomics, modelling and host–microbiome interactions on understanding ecosystem function

Peatlands harbour more than one-third of terrestrial carbon leading to the argument that the bryophytes, as major components of peatland ecosystems, store more organic carbon in soils than any other collective plant taxa. Plants of the genus Sphagnum are important components of peatland ecosystems and are potentially vulnerable to changing climatic conditions. However, the response of Sphagnum to rising temperatures, elevated CO 2 and shifts in local hydrology have yet to be fully characterized. In this paper, we examine Sphagnum biology and ecology and explore the role of this group of keystone species and its associated microbiome in carbon and nitrogen cycling using literature review and model simulations. Several issues are highlighted including the consequences of a variable environment on plant–microbiome interactions, uncertainty associated with CO 2 diffusion resistances and the relationship between fixed N and that partitioned to the photosynthetic apparatus. We note that the Sphagnum fallax genome is currently being sequenced and outline potential applications of population-level genomics and corresponding plant photosynthesis and microbial metabolic modelling techniques. Finally, we highlight Sphagnum as a model organism to explore ecosystem response to a changing climate and to define the role that Sphagnum can play at the intersection of physiology, geneticsmore » and functional genomics.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2] ;  [1] ;  [3] ;  [4] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [2]
  1. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Biosciences Division
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States). Environmental Sciences Division. Climate Change Science Inst.
  3. USDOE Joint Genome Institute (JGI), Walnut Creek, CA (United States); HudsonAlpha Inst. of Biotechnology, Huntsville, AL (United States)
  4. Duke Univ., Durham, NC (United States). Dept. of Biology
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Plant, Cell and Environment
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 38; Journal Issue: 9; Journal ID: ISSN 0140-7791
Research Org:
Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER) (SC-23)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; bryophyte; climate change; genetics; nitrogen fixation; mosses; peatlands
OSTI Identifier:
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1237105; OSTI ID: 1286707