Pettingill Research Seminar: Microbial responses to chronic soil warming and simulated nitrogen deposition
A fundamental controversy in ecosystem ecology is the degree to which identification of microbial taxa informs our ability to understand and model ecosystem-scale processes.
We have evidence that microbial identity does matter, particularly in a global change context where soil microorganisms are subjected to selective pressures to adapt to changing conditions. In particular, we have observed that fungal community composition is fundamentally altered by chronic soil warming, simulated nitrogen deposition, and biotic invasion and that fungal taxa exposed long-term to these environmental stressors exhibit an altered capacity to degrade plant litter. Observed changes in fungal physiology were evident even when the fungi were grown under ambient conditions, suggesting the species may have undergone evolutionary changes that are not readily reversed (i.e., not plastic responses). In the field, changes in the fungal community are associated with altered rates of organic matter decomposition and soil carbon storage.
This presentation will synthesize our results on the responses of the soil fungal community to long-term soil warming, simulated nitrogen deposition, and biotic invasion.
Dr. Serita Frey is a Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of New Hampshire where she chairs the Natural Resources and Earth System Science Ph.D. Program. Her research focuses on soil microbial responses to global change, with an emphasis on how long-term soil warming, simulated nitrogen deposition, and biotic invasion are altering soil fungal ecology and evolution. Her research team maintains three long-term global change experiments at the Harvard Forest Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) site and a state-wide, distributed soil sensor network in New Hampshire.