P18: Microbiome

Implications of energy and matter fluxes on microbial diversity and community complexity in soil systems

The objective of our research project is to characterize the implications of energy and matter fluxes on microbial diversity and community complexity. Our experimental studies are linked to the central platform experiments of this SPP to elucidate the implications of different soils, substrates and boundary conditions.

The abundance and diversity of microbial populations (Bacteria, Archaea, Fungi) from DNA of soil samples and individual soil aggregates will mainly be characterized by PCR amplicon analyses. We will elucidate substrate-induced temporal and spatial changes of the microbiome and link that information to matter and energy fluxes, microbial metabolism, biomass and necromass pools, thus supporting model data integration.

Hypotheses will be tested to establish the link between microbial diversity and the Gibbs energy and molecular structure of the substrates within different soils and under variation of water potential and temperature. Bacterial and fungal communities may respond different to energy and matter inputs, thus representing different thermodynamic energy flux channels. This equally applies to oligotrophic and copiotrophic bacteria. Utilizing our new protocol of analysing the microbial metagenome of individual soil aggregates, we will try to unveil patterns of potential community interactions by means of network analyses. Furthermore, in collaboration with P3, following a mm-depth gradient from litter into deeper soil layers, we will test if the diffusion of dissolved organic carbon through the detritussphere creates a gradient with an increasing contribution of microbiomes to the decomposing necromass.

Link to English scientific abstract
Link to German scientific abstract