Periodic Reporting for period 2 - CLIMIFUN (Climatic and temporal control on microbial diversity-ecosystem functioning: insights from a novel conceptual model (CLIMIFUN).)
Reporting period: 2018-08-01 to 2019-07-31
The main research objective of this action is to gain a deeper insight into the global patterns and mechanisms that drive soil microbial diversity and ecosystem processes under changing environments. We are using a novel conceptual framework combining multiple ecological predictors, climate change experiments and structural equation modelling to quantitatively evaluate the role of the multiple ecological drivers of microbial diversity and ecosystem processes. The research outlined in this proposal includes a range of state-of-the-art biochemical, molecular and genomic methods for the analysis of microbial communities and ecosystem processes that ensure the maximum utility and impact of our results. Altogether, CLIMIFUN will reveal the factors that control soil microbial diversity and key ecosystem processes (e.g. nutrient cycling) under changing environments. This work will thus address a key knowledge gap relevant to supporting increases in global demand for food and fiber over the next decades, and a research priority for H2020.
CLIMIFUN has investigated the changes in soil biodiversity during ecosystem development (PNAS, 2019). Changes in belowground biodiversity during pedogenesis followed two main patterns. In lower productivity ecosystems (drier and colder), increases in belowground biodiversity tracked increases in plant cover. In more productive ecosystems (wetter and warmer), increased acidification during pedogenesis was associated with declines in belowground biodiversity. Changes in the diversity of bacteria, fungi, protists, and invertebrates with pedogenesis were strongly and positively correlated worldwide, highlighting that belowground biodiversity share similar ecological drivers as soils and ecosystems develop. Together, our findings provide evidence that ecological patterns in belowground biodiversity are predictable across major globally-distributed ecosystem types, and suggest that shifts in plant cover and soil acidification during ecosystem development are associated with changes in belowground biodiversity over centuries to millennia.
CLIMIFUN has also provided the first global assessment of the environmental factors controlling the priming effect (Nature Communications, 2019). Our work showed that the magnitude of the positive apparent priming effect (increase in CO2 release through accelerated microbial biomass turnover) was negatively associated with SOC content and microbial respiration rates. Our statistical modeling suggests that apparent priming effects tend to be negative in more mesic sites associated with higher SOC contents. In contrast, a single-input of labile C causes positive apparent priming effects in more arid locations with low SOC contents. Our results provide solid evidence that SOC content plays a critical role in regulating apparent priming effects, with important implications for the improvement of C cycling models under global change scenarios.
CLIMIFUN also investigated the importance of microbial communities as predictor of multifunctionality resistance (C, N and P cycling) to climate change and nitrogen fertilization. This work was published in Ecology Letters in September 2017 (Delgado-Baquerizo et al. 2017. Ecology Letters 20: 1295–1305).
Results from CLIMIFUN are constantly being advertised at Twitter (https://twitter.com/ManuDelBaq). Moreover, CLIMIFUN have resulted in multiple media items including radio shows (e.g. http://cienciaes.com/entrevistas/2018/02/23/mapa-mundial-de-bacterias/ and https://www.srf.ch/sendungen/wissenschaftsmagazin/forscher-erobern-den-sendeturm-beromuenster) and media press releases having a strong impact in the media in Europe and elsewhere (e.g. ABC, https://www.abc.es/ciencia/abci-crean-primer-mapa-global-universo-bacterias-suelos-tierra-201801182022_noticia.html El País https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/01/18/ciencia/1516289742_174723.html OPB, https://www.opb.org/news/article/npr-scientists-peek-inside-the-black-box-of-soil-microbes-to-learn-their-secrets/ NPR, https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/18/578924748/scientists-peek-inside-the-black-box-of-soil-microbes-to-learn-their-secrets?utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=storiesfromnpr to name a few).
The results from CLIMIFUN have also been discussed in the international and prestigious blog of Nature Ecology and Evolution: https://natureecoevocommunity.nature.com/users/58180-manuel-delgado-baquerizo.
Finally, the scientific work derived from CLIMIFUN is available online via https://zenodo.org/search?page=1&size=20&q=delgado-baquerizo and open access journals such as Science Advances (e.g. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/4/e1602008).
During its last year, CLIMIFUN will evaluate the effects of induced climate change on microbial communities and ecosystem processes in ecosystems from the Iberian peninsula, which will will yield significant new insights on the mechanisms driving soil biodiversity and ecosystem processes under climate change scenarios.