NCEAS Project 12308

Do microbes matter? Using global data to test implicit versus explicit representation of microbial activity in litter decomposition models

  • Elizabeth C. Adair

ActivityDatesFurther Information
Postdoctoral Fellow6th April 2009—30th November 2011Participant List  

Despite the major contribution of decomposition to global carbon and nitrogen cycles, it remains poorly understood. This uncertainty is reflected in the diversity of approaches used to depict decomposition in ecosystem models and in debate regarding if, or how, microbes should be explicitly represented. I propose to compile a large-scale, long-term database of litter decomposition data, which I will use to compare two sets of decomposition models: the first varies only in how microbial activity is modeled; the second compares the best model(s) from the first set to a range of published models. Conducting a sophisticated model comparison using spatially and temporally extensive data will allow me to evaluate the relevance of explicitly incorporating microbial activity into large-scale decomposition models and compare the ability of published models to accurately describe global decomposition.

TypeProducts of NCEAS Research
Journal Article Adair, Elizabeth C.; Reich, Peter B.; Trost, Jared J.; Hobbie, Sarah E. 2011. Elevated CO2 stimulates grassland soil respiration by increasing carbon inputs rather than by enhancing soil moisture. Global Change Biology. Vol: 17. Pages 3546-3563. (Online version)
Journal Article Hooper, Dave U.; Adair, Elizabeth C.; Cardinale, Bradley J.; Byrnes, Jarrett E.; Hungate, Bruce A.; Matulich, Kristin L.; Gonzalez, Andrew; Duffy, J. Emmett; Gamfeldt, Lars; O'Connor, Mary I. 2012. A global synthesis reveals biodiversity loss as a major driver of ecosystem change. Nature. Vol: 486. Pages 105-108. (Online version)
Journal Article King, Jennifer; Brandt, Leslie A.; Adair, Elizabeth C. 2012. Shedding light on plant litter decomposition: Advances, implications and new directions in understanding the role of photodegradation. Biogeochemistry. Vol: 111. Pages 57-81. (Online version)
Journal Article Laliberté, Etienne; Adair, Elizabeth C.; Hobbie, Sarah E. 2012. Estimating Litter Decomposition Rate in Single-Pool Models Using Nonlinear Beta Regression . PLoS ONE. Vol: 7(9). Pages e45140.
Journal Article Reid, Joseph P.; Adair, Elizabeth C.; Hobbie, Sarah E.; Reich, Peter B. 2012. Biodiversity, nitrogen deposition, and CO2 affect grassland soil carbon cycling but not storage. Ecosystems. Vol: 15. Pages 580-590. (Online version)