Spruce and peatland response under climatic and environmental change
Global Climate Chance
For this project, we are studying study the microbially-mediated carbon cycle in boreal or northern peatlands. Peatlands sequester one-third of all soil carbon and currently act as major sinks of atmospheric CO2. The ability to predict or to simulate the fate of stored carbon in response to climatic disruption remains hampered by our limited understanding of the controls of C turnover and the composition and functioning of peatland microbial communities. Given their global extent and uncertain fate with climatic change, boreal forests are considered a high priority for climate change research. The overall goal of this project is to investigate the reactivity of soil organic matter and the composition of decomposer microbial communities in response to the climatic forcing of environmental processes that determine carbon storage and sequestration in peatlands. The project will be conducted at the Marcell Experimental Forest (MEF) in northern Minnesota where Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and the USDA Forest Service are developing a climate manipulation field site known as Spruce and Peatland Response Under Climatic and Environmental Change (SPRUCE). The project team includes collaborators at Florida State University and ORNL.