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Soil organic matter turnover: from molecules to ecosystems and back again
Convener: Boris Jansen  | Co-Convener: Karen Vancampenhout 
 / Thu, 12 Apr, 15:30–17:00
 / Attendance Thu, 12 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Soil organic matter turnover is a hot topic in the soil sciences community. In the last decades we have seen a drastic shift in the scientific perceptions surrounding this crucial process. The paradigm of soil organic matter stabilization being linked to complex molecular composition has come under increasing scrutiny. Instead, external factors such as environmental conditions and ecosystem composition are increasingly seen as being of overriding importance: any part of soil organic matter can and will be broken down under the right circumstances.
But what happens if conditions for turnover are suboptimal? Does molecular composition play a role in determining soil organic matter turnover then? And what about the links between environment, ecosystem and molecular composition of soil organic matter? For instance, variation of clay mineral contents is seen as an important ecosystem property that affects soil organic matter turnover through interaction with soil organic matter. However, such interaction in turn depends on the molecular composition, i.e. type and number of functional groups, of soil organic matter.
In this session we hope to discuss this fascinating topic together with a wide range of scientists from various fields, but all focusing on soil organic matter turnover. From scientists looking at soil organic matter turnover at the ecosystem scale in various ecosystems and environments, to the colleagues looking at the details of soil organic matter interactions at the molecular scale. From those focusing on field observations, through those using advanced characterization techniques in the laboratory, to those using modeling approaches. Thus we hope to fuel a discussion about linking the various scales and processes of soil organic matter turnover from molecules to ecosystems.