Scaling up soil carbon dynamics from microbial cells to ecosystems for next-generation Earth System models

Project leader

Funding source

Swedish Research Council - Vetenskapsrådet (VR)

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2017
End date: 31/12/2020
Funding: 3555000 SEK


Emissions of the greenhouse gases from soils are one order of magnitude larger than anthropogenic emissions and quantifying them is a major challenge in climate change research. It is challenging because emissions originate from microbial processes at microscopic scales that we cannot readily observe. The mathematical models used to simulate emissions from soils worldwide neglect the role of these small-scale processes and can thus make inaccurate predictions, hampering our ability to design adaptation strategies. This project will fill this key knowledge gap by assessing how to describe mathematically microbial use soil resources at a microscopic scale. We will employ new empirical observations, existing global datasets, and theoretical advances using up-scaling techniques never employed in soil models. For the first time, the experiments will be designed specifically to inform our theory connecting soil pores to the global scale. Experiments using high resolution soil imaging, and thermodynamic and biochemical techniques will specify relations between the microscopic structure of soil pores and microbial activity, and support the theoretical developments that are the ultimate aim of the project. New theories linking micro- and macro-scales will provide novel mathematical formulations, allowing more accurate predictions of climate change, its effects on ecosystems and the development of alternative soil management practices in agriculture and forestry.

External Partners

Last updated on 2017-30-05 at 12:53