Navigation Links
New research reveals soil microbes accelerate global warming
Date:7/13/2011

More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes soil to release the potent greenhouse gases methane and nitrous oxide, new research published in this week's edition of Nature reveals. "This feedback to our changing atmosphere means that nature is not as efficient in slowing global warming as we previously thought," said Dr Kees Jan van Groenigen, Research Fellow at the Botany department at the School of Natural Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, and lead author of the study.

Van Groenigen, along with colleagues from Northern Arizona University and the University of Florida, gathered all published research to date from 49 different experiments mostly from North America, Europe and Asia, and conducted in forests, grasslands, wetlands, and agricultural fields, including rice paddies. The common theme in the experiments was that they all measured how extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere affects how soils take up or release the gases methane and nitrous oxide.

The research team used a statistical technique called meta-analysis, or quantitative data synthesis, a powerful tool for finding general patterns in a sea of conflicting results. "Until now, there was no consensus on this topic, because results varied from one study to the next," explained Professor Craig Osenberg of the University of Florida and co-author of the study. "However, two strong patterns emerged when we analysed all the data: firstly more CO2 boosted soil emissions of nitrous oxide in all the ecosystems, and secondly, in rice paddies and wetlands, extra CO2 caused soils to release more methane." Wetlands and rice fields are two major sources of methane emissions to the atmosphere.

The culprits are specialised microscopic organisms in soil, that respire the chemicals nitrate and carbon dioxide, like humans respire oxygen. The microbes also produce methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide, 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Their oxygen-free habit is one of the reasons these microorganisms flourish when atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations increase. Van Groenigen explained: "The higher CO2 concentrations reduce plant water use, making soils wetter, in turn reducing the availability of oxygen in soil, favoring these microorganisms."

The other reason these microorganisms become more active is that increasing CO2 makes plants grow faster, and the extra plant growth supplies soil microorganisms with extra energy, pumping up their metabolism. This extra plant growth is one of the main ways ecosystems could slow climate change. With more CO2, plants grow more, soaking up carbon dioxide through photosynthesis, and, the hope is that they also lock away carbon in wood and soil. But this new work shows that at least some of that extra carbon also provides fuel to microorganisms whose byproducts, nitrous oxide and methane, end up in the atmosphere and counteract the cooling effects of more plant growth.

"It's an ecological point and counterpoint: the more the plants soak up CO2, the more microbes release these more potent greenhouse gases," said Bruce Hungate, Professor at Northern Arizona University and co-author on the study. "The microbial counterpoint is only partial," continued Hungate, "reducing the cooling effect of plants by about 20%."

But it's an ecological surprise, too, and one that climate models will need to reckon with as they further refine pictures of the climate of the future. "By overlooking the key role of these two greenhouse gases, previous studies may have overestimated the potential of ecosystems to mitigate the greenhouse effect," van Groenigen concluded.


'/>"/>

Contact: Caoimhe Ni Lochlainn
communications@tcd.ie
353-189-62310
Trinity College Dublin
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Penn researchers show single drug and soft environment can increase platelet production
2. Warwick wins $2.7 million research grant to help cooltronics
3. MIT research update: New way to store suns heat
4. Elsevier Integrates New Collaboration Analysis Capabilities Into SciVal Strata to Further Enhance Research Evaluation
5. SANYO and BD Biosciences Collaborate to Offer Researchers Valuable Technology and Research Tools
6. TUM researchers develop environmentally friendly process to improve storage stability of probiotics
7. Skyline Diagnostics Establishes Research Collaboration With Janssen
8. TALEN® Access by Cellectis Bioresearch Receives "Most Innovative New Service 2011" Award at Life Science Awards
9. Simulated Environment Concepts Research Report to be Released - Domestic Sales Force Established
10. Lehigh University leads Department of Defense MURI grant for atomic-scale interphase research
11. National Parkinson Foundation Awards More Than $1 Million for Research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/4/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... May 04, 2016 , ... ... Well, look no further than LaJollaCooks4u, San Diego’s premiere hands-on cooking experience. Offering ... need to give mom an experience she won’t forget. , Guests that visit ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... , May 4, 2016  Bayer today ... oncology compound Stivarga ® (regorafenib) tablets for ... (HCC) has met its primary endpoint of a ... called RESORCE, evaluated the efficacy and safety of ... progressed after treatment with sorafenib. The safety and ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... According to a new market ... Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast ... expand at a CAGR of 17.1% from 2016 to ... Metabolomics is the extensive study of small molecules, ... organisms. Together, these small molecules and their interactions in ...
(Date:5/4/2016)... ... May 04, 2016 , ... Nutrafol®, a ... help treat hormonal and stress related hair loss. With patent-pending formulas for both ... key opinion leaders in the medical and salon channels nationwide. , Dermatologists, ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/23/2016)... 2016 Einzigartige ... und Stimmerkennung mit Passwörtern     ... MESG ), ein führender Anbieter digitaler Kommunikationsdienste, ... SpeechPro zusammenarbeitet, um erstmals dessen Biometrietechnologie einzusetzen. ... Möglichkeit angeboten, im Rahmen mobiler Apps neben ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... March 22, 2016 Unique ... passcodes for superior security   ... provider of secure digital communications services, today announced it ... and offer enterprise customers, particularly those in the Financial ... and voice authentication within a mobile app, alongside, and ...
(Date:3/15/2016)... , March 15, 2016 ... report published by Transparency Market Research "Digital Door Lock Systems ... Forecast 2015 - 2023," the global digital door lock systems ... Mn in 2014 and is forecast to grow at a ... of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across the world ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):