The annual mean temperatures in boreal and arctic ecosystems in the past 50 years have increased at rates greater than the global mean. Additionally, these ecosystems contain large stores of soil organic carbon—that are trapped for a decade or longer. Rising global temperatures raise concerns about the fate of the stored carbon. In this project, researchers are concerned with how increases in soil temperature impact the fungi responsible for most of the breakdown of organic carbon compounds in high latitudes. Using samples from a long-term soil warming experiment in an Alaskan boreal forest, the team aims to determine which functional genes are linked to sensitivity to higher temperatures within fungal taxa. The data would also help develop a trait-based model to predict fungal carbon dioxide respiration under climate change.
Proposer’s Name: Kathleen Treseder, University of California, Irvine