Short- and long-term temperature responses of soil denitrifier net N2O efflux rates, inter2 profile N2O dynamics, and microbial genetic potentials

Kate M. Buckeridge, Kate A. Edwards, Kyungjin Min, Susan E. Ziegler , Sharon A. Billings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Production and reduction of nitrous oxide (N2O) by soil denitrifiers influences atmospheric concentrations of this potent greenhouse gas. Accurate projections of net N2O flux have three key uncertainties: 1) short- vs. long-term responses to warming; 2) interactions among soil horizons; and 3) temperature responses of different steps in the denitrification pathway. We addressed these uncertainties by sampling soil from a boreal forest climate transect encompassing a 5.2 o 21 C difference in mean annual temperature, and incubating the soil horizons in isolation and together at three ecologically relevant temperatures in conditions that promote denitrification. Both short-term exposure to warmer temperatures and long-term exposure to a warmer climate increased N2O emissions from organic and mineral soils; an isotopic tracer suggested an increase in N2O production was more important than a decline in N2O reduction. Short-term warming promoted reduction of organic horizon-derived N2O by mineral soil when these horizons were incubated together. The abundance of nirS (a precursor gene for N2O production) was not sensitive to temperature, while that of nosZ clade I (a gene for N2O reduction) decreased with short-term warming in both horizons and was higher from a warmer climate. These results suggest a decoupling of gene abundance and process rates in these soils that differs across horizons and timescales. In spite of these variations, our results suggest aconsistent, positive response of denitrifier-mediated, net N2O efflux rates to temperature across timescales in these boreal forests. Our work also highlights the importance of understanding cross-horizon N2O fluxes for developing a predictive understanding of net N2O
efflux from soils.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSOIL
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 26 Aug 2020

Keywords

  • nitrous oxide
  • nosZ
  • nirS,
  • boreal forest
  • 15N
  • climate change

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