The Earth’s climate is warming, causing both biophysical and biogeochemical feedbacks to the climate system. Increasing temperature seems to alter the way soil organic matter (SOM) is processed, causing the carbon stored in soils to transfer to the atmosphere. Though soil microbes are major drivers of soil carbon cycling, the process by which temperature affects SOM decomposition is poorly understood. To learn more about this, metagenomic and metatranscriptomic sequencing of soil microbes collected from ongoing field warming studies at three sites in the Harvard Forest over the past 20 years will help researchers understand how climate change affects soil microbial community composition and activity, and how this changes over time. In addition, the sequence data will provide a foundation for research on changes to other biogeochemical cycles and feedbacks between plants and microbial forest soil community members.
PI: Jeffrey Blanchard, University of Massachusetts