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Title: Anaerobic microsites have an unaccounted role in soil carbon stabilization

Abstract

Soils represent the largest carbon reservoir within terrestrial ecosystems. The mechanisms controlling the amount of carbon stored and its feedback to the climate system, however, remain poorly resolved. Global carbon models assume that carbon cycling in upland soils is entirely driven by aerobic respiration; the impact of anaerobic microsites prevalent even within well-drained soils is missed within this conception. Here, we show that anaerobic microsites are important regulators of soil carbon persistence, shifting microbial metabolism to less efficient anaerobic respiration, and selectively protecting otherwise bioavailable, reduced organic compounds such as lipids and waxes from decomposition. Further, shifting from anaerobic to aerobic conditions leads to a 10-fold increase in volume-specific mineralization rate, illustrating the sensitivity of anaerobically protected carbon to disturbance. The vulnerability of anaerobically protected carbon to future climate or land use change thus constitutes a yet unrecognized soil carbon-climate feedback that should be incorporated into terrestrial ecosystem models.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4]; ORCiD logo [5]
  1. Univ. of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (United States). School of Earth and Sustainability and Stockbridge School of Agriculture; Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Earth System Science Department
  2. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States). Department of Crop and Soil Science
  3. Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR (United States). Department of Crop and Soil Science; Institut für Bodenlandschaftsforschung, Leibnitz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V., Müncheberg (Germany)
  4. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Earth and Environmental Sciences Area
  5. Stanford Univ., CA (United States). Earth System Science Department
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Biological and Environmental Research (BER)
OSTI Identifier:
1476578
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231; FG02-13ER65542; SC0016544
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 8; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2041-1723
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
58 GEOSCIENCES; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES

Citation Formats

Keiluweit, Marco, Wanzek, Tom, Kleber, Markus, Nico, Peter, and Fendorf, Scott. Anaerobic microsites have an unaccounted role in soil carbon stabilization. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01406-6.
Keiluweit, Marco, Wanzek, Tom, Kleber, Markus, Nico, Peter, & Fendorf, Scott. Anaerobic microsites have an unaccounted role in soil carbon stabilization. United States. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01406-6
Keiluweit, Marco, Wanzek, Tom, Kleber, Markus, Nico, Peter, and Fendorf, Scott. Fri . "Anaerobic microsites have an unaccounted role in soil carbon stabilization". United States. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-017-01406-6. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1476578.
@article{osti_1476578,
title = {Anaerobic microsites have an unaccounted role in soil carbon stabilization},
author = {Keiluweit, Marco and Wanzek, Tom and Kleber, Markus and Nico, Peter and Fendorf, Scott},
abstractNote = {Soils represent the largest carbon reservoir within terrestrial ecosystems. The mechanisms controlling the amount of carbon stored and its feedback to the climate system, however, remain poorly resolved. Global carbon models assume that carbon cycling in upland soils is entirely driven by aerobic respiration; the impact of anaerobic microsites prevalent even within well-drained soils is missed within this conception. Here, we show that anaerobic microsites are important regulators of soil carbon persistence, shifting microbial metabolism to less efficient anaerobic respiration, and selectively protecting otherwise bioavailable, reduced organic compounds such as lipids and waxes from decomposition. Further, shifting from anaerobic to aerobic conditions leads to a 10-fold increase in volume-specific mineralization rate, illustrating the sensitivity of anaerobically protected carbon to disturbance. The vulnerability of anaerobically protected carbon to future climate or land use change thus constitutes a yet unrecognized soil carbon-climate feedback that should be incorporated into terrestrial ecosystem models.},
doi = {10.1038/s41467-017-01406-6},
journal = {Nature Communications},
number = 1,
volume = 8,
place = {United States},
year = {2017},
month = {11}
}

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