Soil Microbial Carbon Cycling
We are studying the period around the first fall rainfall event, when soil-associated carbon fixed during spring growth is rapidly metabolized, focusing on climate manipulations that differ 1) in the amount of Spring rainfall (above-ground carbon stocks) and 2) on the period of time following the first fall rain events (soil microbial communities) and 3) soil depth.
Metagenomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and metabolomics are being used to compare the membership and functioning of soil communities at three different depths below the grass root zone. We are tracking C, N, and H into specific microorganisms and pathways within field samples by leveraging our ability to amend the meadow with stable isotope-labeled compounds.
Overall, this program will result in critical advances in our understanding of soil microbial community carbon cycling to address the question of how the grassland ecosystem will respond to future climate change.