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The Implications of Microbial and Substrate Limitation for the Fates of Carbon in Different Organic Soil Horizon Types: a Mechanistically Based Model Analysis : Volume 11, Issue 2 (10/02/2014)

By He, Y.

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Book Id: WPLBN0004004846
Format Type: PDF Article :
File Size: Pages 40
Reproduction Date: 2015

Title: The Implications of Microbial and Substrate Limitation for the Fates of Carbon in Different Organic Soil Horizon Types: a Mechanistically Based Model Analysis : Volume 11, Issue 2 (10/02/2014)  
Author: He, Y.
Volume: Vol. 11, Issue 2
Language: English
Subject: Science, Biogeosciences, Discussions
Collections: Periodicals: Journal and Magazine Collection (Contemporary), Copernicus GmbH
Publication Date:
Publisher: Copernicus Gmbh, Göttingen, Germany
Member Page: Copernicus Publications


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Harden, J. W., Zhuang, Q., Mcguire, A. D., Liu, Y., Fan, Z., Wickland, K. P., & He, Y. (2014). The Implications of Microbial and Substrate Limitation for the Fates of Carbon in Different Organic Soil Horizon Types: a Mechanistically Based Model Analysis : Volume 11, Issue 2 (10/02/2014). Retrieved from

Description: Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA. The large magnitudes of soil carbon stocks provide potentially large feedbacks to climate changes, highlighting the need to better understand and represent the environmental sensitivity of soil carbon decomposition. Most soil carbon decomposition models rely on empirical relationships omitting key biogeochemical mechanisms and their response to climate change is highly uncertain. In this study, we developed a multi-layer mechanistically based soil decomposition model framework for boreal forest ecosystems. A global sensitivity analysis was conducted to identify dominating biogeochemical processes and to highlight structural limitations. Our results indicate that substrate availability (limited by soil water diffusion and substrate quality) is likely to be a major constraint on soil decomposition in the fibrous horizon (40–60% of SOC pool size variation), while energy limited microbial activity in the amorphous horizon exerts a predominant control on soil decomposition (>70% of SOC pool size variation). Elevated temperature alleviated the energy constraint of microbial activity most notably in amorphous soils; whereas moisture only exhibited a marginal effect on dissolved substrate supply and microbial activity. Our study highlights the different decomposition properties and underlying mechanisms of soil dynamics between fibrous and amorphous soil horizons. Soil decomposition models should consider explicitly representing different boreal soil horizons and soil-microbial interactions to better characterize biogeochemical processes in boreal ecosystems. A more comprehensive representation of critical biogeochemical mechanisms of soil moisture effects may be required to improve the performance of the soil model we analyzed in this study.

The implications of microbial and substrate limitation for the fates of carbon in different organic soil horizon types: a mechanistically based model analysis

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