Roots and fungi accelerate carbon and nitrogen cycling in forests exposed to elevated CO2.


Journal Article

A common finding in multiple CO(2) enrichment experiments in forests is the lack of soil carbon (C) accumulation owing to microbial priming of 'old' soil organic matter (SOM). However, soil C losses may also result from the accelerated turnover of 'young' microbial tissues that are rich in nitrogen (N) relative to bulk SOM. We measured root-induced changes in soil C dynamics in a pine forest exposed to elevated CO(2) and N enrichment by combining stable isotope analyses, molecular characterisations of SOM and microbial assays. We find strong evidence that the accelerated turnover of root-derived C under elevated CO(2) is sufficient in magnitude to offset increased belowground inputs. In addition, the C losses were associated with accelerated N cycling, suggesting that trees exposed to elevated CO(2) not only enhance N availability by stimulating microbial decomposition of SOM via priming but also increase the rate at which N cycles through microbial pools.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Phillips, RP; Meier, IC; Bernhardt, ES; Grandy, AS; Wickings, K; Finzi, AC

Published Date

  • September 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 / 9

Start / End Page

  • 1042 - 1049

PubMed ID

  • 22776588

Pubmed Central ID

  • 22776588

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1461-0248

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1461-023X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01827.x


  • eng