Regulation of microbial transformations relevant for ecosystem functioning in a changing environment
06 / 2001 - 12 / 2007
Ecosystems are subject to large-scale changes in the environment, like climatic change and air pollution. An important way ecosystems may react to these changes is through the soil microbial population. These microbes decompose soil organic matter to inorganic nutrients. These nutrients may be taken up by the plants, or may leach to groundwater supplies. Through the environmental change the activity of the microbes may change. This changed role may have its effect on plants (via a changed nutritional status in the soil), on the soil (via soil acidification) and on the environment (via leaching or emissions). This project studies the changes in ecosystems as a result of climatic change and nitrogen deposition. The methodology varies from large-scale ecosystem manipulation to laboratory incubation studies. Also models are being used as tools.