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Widespread asymmetric response of soil heterotrophic respiration to warming and cooling

Liu, Yuan; Wen, Xuefa; Zhang, Yunhai; Tian, Jing; Gao, Yang; Ostle, Nicholas J.; Niu, Shuli; Chen, Shiping; Sun, Xiaomin; He, Nianpeng. 2018 Widespread asymmetric response of soil heterotrophic respiration to warming and cooling. Science of the Total Environment, 635. 423-431. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.145

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Abstract/Summary

Soil is the largest organic carbon (C) pool in terrestrial ecosystems. Periodic changes in environmental temperature occur diurnally and seasonally; yet, the response of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition to varying temperatures remains unclear. In this study, we conducted a modified incubation experiment using soils from 16 forest ecosystems in China with periodically and continuously varying incubation temperature to investigate how heterotrophic respiration (Rh) responds to different temperature patterns (both warming and cooling temperature ranging between 5 and 30 °C). Our results showed a pronounced asymmetric response of Rh to temperature warming and cooling among the soils of all forest ecosystems, with Rh increasing more rapidly during the warming phase compared to the cooling phase. This asymmetric response of Rh to warming and cooling temperatures was widespread in all soils. In addition, the amplitude of this asymmetric response differed among different forest ecosystems, with subtropical and warm-temperate forest ecosystems exhibiting greater asymmetric responses. Path analyses showed that soil pH and the microbial community explained most of the variation in this asymmetric response. Furthermore, the widespread asymmetric response of Rh to warming and cooling temperatures suggests that accumulated SOM decomposition might be overestimated on average by 20% for warming alone when compared with admix warming and cooling. These findings provide new insights on the responses of Rh to natural shifts in temperature, emphasizing the need to consider this widespread asymmetric response of Rh to warming and cooling phases to predict C-climate feedback with great accuracy, especially under future non-uniform warming scenarios.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.04.145
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: UKCEH Fellows
ISSN: 0048-9697
Additional Keywords: heterotrophic respiration, warming, cooling, asymmetric response, forest
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 30 Apr 2018 12:56 +0 (UTC)
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/519918

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