Lowland plant arrival in alpine ecosystems facilitates a decrease in soil carbon content under experimental climate warming

Walker, T., Gavazov, K., Guillaume, T., Lambert, T., Mariotte, P., Routh, D., Signarbieux, C., Block, S., et al. (2022). Lowland plant arrival in alpine ecosystems facilitates a decrease in soil carbon content under experimental climate warming. eLife 11 e78555. 10.7554/eLife.78555.

Full text not available from this repository.

Abstract

Climate warming is releasing carbon from soils around the world, constituting a positive climate feedback. Warming is also causing species to expand their ranges into new ecosystems. Yet, in most ecosystems, whether range expanding species will amplify or buffer expected soil carbon loss is unknown. Here, we used two whole-community transplant experiments and a follow-up glasshouse experiment to determine whether the establishment of herbaceous lowland plants in alpine ecosystems influences soil carbon content under warming. We found that warming (transplantation to low elevation) led to a negligible decrease in alpine soil carbon content, but its effects became significant and 52% ± 31% (mean ± 95% confidence intervals) larger after lowland plants were introduced at low density into the ecosystem. We present evidence that decreases in soil carbon content likely occurred via lowland plants increasing rates of root exudation, soil microbial respiration, and CO2 release under warming. Our findings suggest that warming-induced range expansions of herbaceous plants have the potential to alter climate feedbacks from this system, and that plant range expansions among herbaceous communities may be an overlooked mediator of warming effects on carbon dynamics.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: carbon cycling; climate change; ecology; plant ecophysiology; plant redistributions; plant–soil interactions; soil microbes
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 17 Jun 2022 05:57
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2022 05:57
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/18067

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item