Mediterranean ecosystems and grasslands are considered among the most vulnerable to biodiversity loss due to global environmental change. For the Mediterranean grasslands of California, climate models have predicted decreasing precipitation combined with elevated temperatures. The result could lead to accelerated decomposition and mineralization of soil organic matter in the rhizosphere, that area where the soil microbes interact with microbes in the plant roots, of the dominant grass species. These effects are expected to be more pronounced under conditions of elevated atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. This project calls for sequencing rhizosphere soil microbial communities from a Mediterranean grassland at the University of California Research Station in Hopland, CA. This soil is the model system for several DOE funded projects investigating soil carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistry under different climate change scenarios. The sequence data could lead to the identification of novel enzymes for the degradation of lignocellulose and better understanding of biomass degradation in natural systems and to an increased understanding of the contributions of microbes to fundamental carbon cycling mechanisms, as well as what happens to the energy-derived byproducts.
Proposer’s Name: Eoin L. Brodie