Navigation Links
Microbes contribute less to climate warming
Date:4/27/2010

New Haven, Conn.The physiology of microbes living underground could determine the amount of carbon dioxide emitted from soils on a warmer Earth, according to a study published online this week in Nature Geoscience.

Researchers at UC Irvine, Colorado State University and the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies have found that as global temperatures increase, microbes in soil become less efficient over time in converting carbon in soil into carbon dioxide, which is a key contributor to climate warming.

Microbes, in the form of bacteria and fungi, use carbon for energy to breathe, or respire, and to grow in size and in number. A model developed by the researchers shows microbes exhaling carbon dioxide furiously for a short period of time in a warmer environment, leaving less carbon for growth. As warmer temperatures persist, the less-efficient use of carbon by the microbes causes them to decrease in number, eventually resulting in less carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere.

"Microbes aren't the destructive agents of global warming that scientists had previously believed," said Steven Allison, lead author of the study and assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at UC Irvine. "Microbes function like humansthey take in carbon-based fuel and breathe out carbon dioxide. They are the engines that drive carbon cycling in soils. In a balanced environment, plants store carbon in the soil and microbes use that carbon to grow. The microbes then produce enzymes that convert soil carbon into atmospheric carbon dioxide."

The study, "Soil-Carbon Response to Warming Dependent on Microbial Physiology," contradicts the results of older models that assume microbes will continue to spew ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as the climate continues to warm. The new simulations suggest that if microbial efficiency declines in a warmer world, carbon dioxide emissions will fall back to pre-warming levels, a pattern seen in field experiments. But if microbes manage to adapt to the warmthfor instance through increases in enzyme activityemissions could intensify.

"When we developed a model based on the actual biology of soil microbes, we found that soil carbon may not be lost to the atmosphere as the climate warms," said Matthew Wallenstein, of the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory at Colorado State University. "Conventional ecosystem models that didn't include enzymes did not make the same predictions."

Mark Bradford, assistant professor of terrestrial ecosystem ecology at Yale, said there is intense debate in the scientific community over whether the loss of soil carbon will contribute to global warming. "The challenge we have in predicting this is that the microbial processes causing this loss are poorly understood," he said. "More research in this area will help reduce uncertainties in climate prediction."


'/>"/>

Contact: David DeFusco
david.defusco@yale.edu
203-436-4842
Yale University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Earth microbes may contaminate the search for life on Mars
2. Soil microbes produce less atmospheric CO2 than expected with climate warming
3. Explorers census hard-to-see sea life: microbes, tiny animals key to Earths food, carbon systems
4. Dormant microbes promote diversity, serve environment
5. Microbes produce fuels directly from biomass
6. Hot microbes cause groundwater cleanup rethink
7. Marine microbes creating green waves in industry
8. Marine microbes creating green waves in industry
9. Microbes and their hosts -- exploring the complexity of symbiosis in DNA and cell biology
10. Methane-eating microbes can use iron and manganese oxides to breathe
11. Plant protein doorkeepers block invading microbes, study finds
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:10/4/2017)... Solutions, a global clinical research organization (CRO), announces the launch of ... 4, 2017. Shadow is designed to assist medical writers and biometrics ... the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in meeting the requirements for de-identifying ... ... ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... Delta (NYSE: DAL ) customers now can use ... Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). ... Delta launches biometrics to board aircraft at Reagan Washington ... Delta,s biometric boarding pass experience that ... integrated into the boarding process to allow eligible Delta SkyMiles Members who ...
(Date:6/14/2017)... -- IBM (NYSE: IBM ) is introducing several innovative partner ... developing collaboration between startups and global businesses, taking place in ... event, nine startups will showcase the solutions they have built ... France is one of ... 30 percent increase in the number of startups created between ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... conjugate (ADC) therapeutics, today confirmed licensing rights that give it exclusive global ... technology developed in collaboration with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA). Additionally, ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM Life ... for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu Viswanathan ... The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a revolutionary ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... October 09, 2017 , ... The ... medical marijuana products targeting the needs of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana ... place in Phoenix, Arizona. , As operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The ...
(Date:10/6/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... The HealthTech Venture Network ... at their fourth annual Conference where founders, investors, innovative practitioners and collaborators are ... pitch competition showcasing early stage digital health and med tech companies. , This ...
Breaking Biology Technology: