Navigation Links
Global warming is changing organic matter in soil
Date:11/24/2008

New research shows that we should be looking to the ground, not the sky, to see where climate change could have its most perilous impact on life on Earth.

Scientists at the University of Toronto Scarborough have published research findings in the prestigious journal, Nature Geoscience, that show global warming actually changes the molecular structure of organic matter in soil.

"Soil contains more than twice the amount of carbon than does the atmosphere, yet, until now, scientists haven't examined this significant carbon pool closely," says Myrna J. Simpson, principal investigator and Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry at UTSC. "Through our research, we've sought to determine what soils are made up of at the molecular level and whether this composition will change in a warmer world."

Soil organic matter is what makes dirt fertile and able to support plant life both of which are especially important for agriculture. Organic matter retains water in the soil and prevents erosion. Natural processes of decomposition of soil organic matter provide plants and microbes with the energy source and water they need to grow, and carbon is released into the atmosphere as a by-product of this process. Warming temperatures are expected to speed up this process which will increase the amount of CO2 that is transferred to the atmosphere.

"From the perspective of agriculture, we can't afford to lose carbon from the soil because it will change soil fertility and enhance erosion" says Simpson. "Alternatively, consider all the carbon locked up in permafrost in the Arctic. We also need to understand what will happen to the stored carbon when microbes become more active under warmer temperatures."

Until Simpson's research, scientists didn't know much about soil's molecular composition. Part of the reason is that, from a chemical perspective, soil is difficult to analyze due to its many components, including bacteria, fungi and an array of fresh, partially degraded, or old plant material. Simpson's team, which includes research collaborators Professors Dudley Williams and Andre Simpson, is uniquely positioned to address this new frontier. The team uses a NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) facility - the only NMR facility in Canada specifically dedicated to environmental research to gain a detailed view of soil's molecular structure and reactivity.

In their current study, Simpson's team used an outdoor field experiment in the valley behind the UTSC campus to ensure natural ecosystem processes were preserved. Electrodes warmed the test soil between three and six degrees through winter and summer seasons, over a 14-month period. Throughout the test period, the team analyzed the molecular composition of soil samples.


'/>"/>

Contact: Laura Matthews
lmatthews@utsc.utoronto.ca
416-287-7089
University of Toronto
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Issues at intersection of climate change and health impact global well-being
2. UI researchers help to improve carbon measurements in global climate studies
3. Global warming link to amphibian declines in doubt
4. Less than one month to opening of world’s largest global congress on osteoporosis
5. Global warming predicted to hasten carbon release from peat bogs
6. Book explores global implications of wildland fire smoke
7. Global methane levels on the rise again
8. Stanford researchers: Global warming is killing frogs and salamanders in Yellowstone Park
9. Climate change expert to discuss grim global warming predictions
10. Study helps clarify role of soil microbes in global warming
11. Earlier global warming produced a whole new form of life
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2016   Parabon NanoLabs (Parabon) announced ... Research Office and the Defense Forensics and Biometrics ... the company,s Snapshot Kinship Inference software ... generally, defense-related DNA forensics.  Although Snapshot is best ... and ancestry from DNA evidence), it also has ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... , Feb. 1, 2016  Today, the first ... (AHA) announced plans to develop a first of its ... power of IBM Watson. In the first application of ... IBM (NYSE: IBM ), and Welltok will create ... health assessments with cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health ...
(Date:1/27/2016)... , Jan. 27, 2016  Rite Track, Inc. a ... West Chester, Ohio announced today ... service staff, based in Austin, Texas ... ability to provide modifications, installations and technical support offerings ... CEO of PLUS, commented, "PLUS has provided world class ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... and GERMANTOWN, Maryland , February ... Prime Standard: QIA) today announced the introduction of more ... expression profiling, expanding QIAGEN,s portfolio of Sample to Insight ... to select from over 20,000 human genes and lncRNA ... genes, cellular phenotypes and disease processes. --> ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... cutting-edge information focused on the development and manufacture of biopharmaceuticals and therapeutics, ... sponsor of the 2016 BioProcess International Awards – Recognizing Excellence in the ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... Reichert Technologies, which has created ... pursue the highest level of accuracy and quality with the addition of two ... AR5 Refractometer. Accurate, reliable and tough enough for the most demanding applications, ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... Early-career researchers from ... , Uganda and Yemen ... nutrition   Indonesia , Nepal ... Yemen are being honored for their accomplishments in ... celebrated for mentoring young women scientists who are pursuing careers in agriculture, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: