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The influence of soil communities on the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration

Johnston, A. S. A. and Sibly, R. M. (2018) The influence of soil communities on the temperature sensitivity of soil respiration. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 2. pp. 1597-1602. ISSN 2397-334X

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0648-6


Soil respiration represents a major carbon flux between terrestrial ecosystems and the atmosphere, and is expected to accelerate under climate warming. Despite its importance in climate change forecasts, however, our understanding of the effects of temperature on soil respiration (RS) is incomplete. Using a metabolic ecology approach we link soil biota metabolism, community composition and heterotrophic activity, to predict RS rates across five biomes. We find that accounting for the ecological mechanisms underpinning decomposition processes predicts climatological RS variations observed in an independent dataset (n = 312). The importance of community composition is evident because without it RS is substantially underestimated. With increasing temperature, we predict a latitudinal increase in RS temperature sensitivity, with Q10 values ranging between 2.33 ±0.01 in tropical forests to 2.72 ±0.03 in tundra. This global trend has been widely observed, but has not previously been linked to soil communities.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences > Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
ID Code:78849


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