Soil warming increases the number of growing bacterial taxa but not their growth rates

Metze, D., Schnecker, J., de Carlan, C.L.N., Bhattarai, B., Verbruggen, E., Ostonen, I., Janssens, I.A., Sigurdsson, B.D., et al. (2024). Soil warming increases the number of growing bacterial taxa but not their growth rates. Science Advances 10 (8) 10.1126/sciadv.adk6295.

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Soil microorganisms control the fate of soil organic carbon. Warming may accelerate their activities putting large carbon stocks at risk of decomposition. Existing knowledge about microbial responses to warming is based on community-level measurements, leaving the underlying mechanisms unexplored and hindering predictions. In a long-term soil warming experiment in a Subarctic grassland, we investigated how active populations of bacteria and archaea responded to elevated soil temperatures (+6°C) and the influence of plant roots, by measuring taxon-specific growth rates using quantitative stable isotope probing and 18O water vapor equilibration. Contrary to prior assumptions, increased community growth was associated with a greater number of active bacterial taxa rather than generally faster-growing populations. We also found that root presence enhanced bacterial growth at ambient temperatures but not at elevated temperatures, indicating a shift in plant-microbe interactions. Our results, thus, reveal a mechanism of how soil bacteria respond to warming that cannot be inferred from community-level measurements.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2024 08:45
Last Modified: 26 Feb 2024 08:45

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