Navigation Links
ORNL researchers improve soil carbon cycling models
Date:8/16/2012

A new carbon cycling model developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory better accounts for the carbon dioxide-releasing activity of microbes in the ground, improving scientists' understanding of the role soil will play in future climate change.

Predicting climate change depends heavily on the cycling of carbon dioxide, which is found in four main reservoirs: the atmosphere, biosphere, oceans and soil. ORNL's model was designed to replace traditional soil carbon cycling models.

"Soil is a big reservoir of carbon," said co-author Melanie Mayes of ORNL's Environmental Sciences Division. "And most of the soil carbon cycling models in use today are so vastly simplified that they ignore the fact that decomposition is actually performed by microbes."

In a paper published in Ecological Applications, the journal of the Ecological Society of America, ORNL researchers integrated data from scientific literature on carbon degradation in soil to form the Microbial-Enzyme-mediated Decomposition, or MEND, model that improves upon previous models.

"Our MEND model does a better job of representing the mechanisms of soil carbon decomposition than existing models," Mayes said.

ORNL's comprehensive model accounts for how the different forms of carbon in soil, or "pools," react with extracellular enzymes excreted into the soil by microbes, allowing scientists to understand how quickly carbon is moving through soils.

The model simulates the carbon cycle, beginning after a decaying plant or animal releases carbon-rich materials into the soil. The organic material is degraded by enzymatic reactions, releasing dissolved carbon molecules that can be absorbed by microbes for growth or metabolism. These processes ultimately result in the release of carbon dioxide.

ORNL's MEND model is the first model able to track degradation by accounting for most of the relevant processes and by estimating the parameters based on a comprehensive literature review. This model, which is based on the physiological functions of microbes, accounts for how temperature affects the ability of microbes to emit carbon dioxide. Soil can either store or release carbon depending on how rapidly carbon-rich materials in the soil are decomposed.

"What we think will happen is that as temperature goes up, microbial physiology will change, altering their ability to break down carbon chains and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere," Mayes said. "If our models don't account for this process, then our ability to predict future climate change will be less realistic."

For the next six to eight months, ORNL's team will run laboratory-scale experiments to ensure that the MEND model accurately represents the decomposition of carbon compounds in soils. Eventually, team members hope to incorporate their model into the publicly available supercomputing program called the Community Land Model, a module used in the Community Earth System Model that helps researchers predict future climate change.


'/>"/>
Contact: Jennifer Brouner
brounerjm@ornl.gov
865-241-9515
DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Researchers identify key culprit causing muscle atrophy
2. Researchers demonstrate control of devastating cassava virus in Africa
3. Researchers pursue red flag for schizophrenia relapse
4. A new line of defense: Researchers find cattle vaccine works to reduce E. coli O157:H7
5. Iowa State, Ames Lab researchers invent new tool to study single biological molecules
6. Wayne State researchers working to improve genetic analysis, disorder detection
7. Superbird stuns researchers
8. Massachusetts Eye and Ear researchers discover elusive gene that causes a form of blindness from birth
9. Researchers monitor red tides in Chesapeake Bay
10. BUSM researchers find link between childhood abuse and age at menarche
11. Researchers dig through the gene bank to uncover the roots of the evolutionary tree
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/29/2016)... LegacyXChange, Inc. (OTC: LEGX ... Protect are pleased to announce our successful effort to ... of writing instruments, ensuring athletes signatures against counterfeiting and ... athletes on LegacyXChange will be assured of ongoing proof ... Bill Bollander , CEO states, "By inserting ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... facial recognition with passcodes for superior security   ... ), a leading provider of secure digital communications services, ... their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly those ... secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a mobile ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... Yissum Research Development Company of the ... the Hebrew University, announced today the formation of ... various human biological indicators. Neteera Technologies has completed its ... investors. ... electromagnetic emissions from sweat ducts, enables reliable and speedy ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/27/2016)... ... , ... Doctors in Italy, Japan, the UK and the US have reached ... gene and its link to malignant mesothelioma. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the details ... now. , The studies analyzed for the new report included more than 3,447 ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... , May 26, 2016  Agriculture nutrients are in ... Moines, Iowa is running their nitrate removal ... Lake Erie and coastal regions nationwide are ... preventing this widespread issue. NECi Superior Enzymes, ... Upper Peninsula, developed a new, easy to use device ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... Despite the volatility that continues to envelop the ... research on ActiveWallSt.com directs the investor community,s focus on the ... ), Cerus Corp. (NASDAQ: CERS ), Arrowhead Pharmaceuticals ... Inc. (NASDAQ: FPRX ). Register with us today ... On Wednesday, shares in Massachusetts ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... FireflySci has been manufacturing quartz and ... over the globe. Their cute firefly logo has been spreading to more and ... spectrophotometer calibration standards that never require recalibration. These revolutionary standards have changed ...
Breaking Biology Technology: