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Probing the Active Fraction of Biocrust Microbiomes in the Face of Climate Change

Project description

Impact of climate change on the biocrust microbiome

Biocrusts, which comprise topsoil microbial communities living in close association with soil particles, are involved in numerous key ecosystem processes that are essential to desert ecosystems and play a role in the global carbon cycle. Research suggests that climate change can influence precipitation patterns, which may dramatically affect these communities, and soil properties and carbon budgets in global drylands. Hence, there is an urgent need to apply techniques that can identify the active organisms driving soil processes. The EU-funded MICROBIOCLIM project will address this challenge by implementing biorthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging (BONCAT) coupled to omics techniques to probe active cells in situ in biocrust while tracking the evolution of the soil carbon budget under climate change scenarios.

Objective

Biocrusts are topsoil microbial communities that live in close association with soil particles and constitute the living skin of drylands. They intercede in numerous key ecosystem processes that are essential to desert ecosystems and play a relevant role in the global carbon cycle. Despite their inherent tolerance to aridity, a growing body of literature suggests that forecasted alterations in precipitation patterns, a global imprint of climate change, has the potential to dramatically affect these communities. However, little is known about how this will alter biocrust microbiome functioning and how these changes will be echoed to the soil properties and carbon budget in global drylands. This lack of knowledge arises from the difficulty to reliably link culture independent traditional genomic data to soil function. Thus, there is an urgent need to implement techniques that allow the identification of active organisms driving soil processes. The main objective of MICROBIOCLIM is to gain a deeper insight into the effect of altered precipitation patterns driven by climate change on biocrust microbiome functioning in drylands. To tackle this objective, MICROBIOCLIM will implement Biorthogonal Non-Canonical Amino Acid Tagging (BONCAT) coupled to omics methods to probe active cells in situ in biocrust while tracking the evolution of the soil carbon budget under climate change scenarios. The research outlined here includes multiple spatial and temporal scales, which will allow us to gain critical knowledge to design strategies to preserve biocrusts and the ecosystem services they render. This project will also help fill a major gap in our understanding of the underlying mechanisms controlling soil respiration and their implications for carbon cycling in global drylands, both priorities of the H2020 and the EU Green Deal.

Coordinator

UNIVERSIDAD DE ALICANTE
Net EU contribution
€ 245 732,16
Address
CAMPUS DE SAN VICENTE RASPEIG
03690 Alicante
Spain

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Region
Este Comunitat Valenciana Alicante/Alacant
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 245 732,16

Partners (1)