The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Department of Energy have emphasized the need to better understand and predict how changing climate conditions might impact carbon cycling and carbon sequestration in ecosystems. Grasslands and rangelands account for about 40 percent to 70 percent of terrestrial ecosystems, so understanding the interactions between common grass species and their associated microbial communities helps researchers understand how their impact on carbon storage. This study focuses on the rhizosphere of soil taken from a California grassland, incubated under controlled greenhouse conditions, and grown with a common annual grass (Avena fatua) to learn how organic carbon transformation and decomposition in soil is altered by the interactions between plant roots and the soil microbial community. The rhizosphere is the nexus of plant-soil-microbial interactions critically important in carbon cycling and biofuel crop soil fertility.
Proposer’s Name: Mary Firestone