EGU2020-269, updated on 12 Jun 2020
EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

The magnitude of temperature increase matters: how will soil organic mineralization respond to future climate warming?

Jie Zhou1, Yuan Wen2, Lingling Shi1, Michaela Dippold2, Yakov Kuzyakov3,4, Huadong Zang2, Davey Jones5,6, and Evgenia Blagodatskaya4,7
Jie Zhou et al.
  • 1Biogeochemistry of Agroecosystems, Department of Crop science, University of Goettingen, Goettingen, Germany (
  • 2College of Agronomy and Biotechnology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China
  • 3Department of Soil Science of Temperate Ecosystems, Department of Agricultural Soil Science, Georg August University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany
  • 4Agro-Technological Institute, RUDN University, Moscow, Russia
  • 5School of Natural Sciences, Bangor University, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 2UW, UK
  • 6SoilsWest, UWA School of Agriculture and Environment, The University of Western Australia, Perth, WA 6009, Australia
  • 7Department of Soil Ecology, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research – UFZ, Halle (Saale), Germany

The Paris climate agreement is pursuing efforts to limit the increase in global temperature to below 2 °C above pre-industrial level. The overall consequence of relatively slight warming (~2 °C), on soil C and N stocks will be dependent on microorganisms decomposing organic matter through release of extracellular enzymes. Therefore, the capacity of soil microbial community to buffer climate warming in long-term and the self-regulatory mechanisms mediating soil C and N cycling through enzyme activity and microbial growth require a detailed comparative study. Here, microbial growth and the dynamics of enzyme activity (involved in C and N cycling) in response to 8 years warming (ambient, +1.6 °C, +3.2 °C) were investigated to identify shifts in soil and microbial functioning. A slight temperature increase (+1.6 °C) only altered microbial properties, but had no effect on either hydrolytic enzyme activity or basic soil properties. Stronger warming (+3.2 °C) increased the specific growth rate (μm) of the microbial community, indicating an alteration in their ecological strategy, i.e. a shift towards fast-growing microorganisms and accelerated microbial turnover. Warming strongly changed microbial physiological state, as indicated by a 1.4-fold increase in the fraction of growing microorganisms (GMB) and 2 times decrease in lag-time with warming. This reduced total microbial biomass but increased specific enzyme activity to be ready to decompose increased rhizodeposition, as supported by the higher potential activitiy (Vmax) and lower affinity to substrates (higher Km) of enzymes hydrolyzing cellobiose and proteins cleavage in warmed soil. In other words, stronger warming magnitude (+3.2 °C) changed microbial communities, and was sufficient to benefit fast-growing microbial populations with enzyme functions that specific to degrade labile SOM. Combining with 48 literature observations, we confirmed that the slight magnitude of temperature increase (< 2 °C) only altered microbial properties, but further temperature increases (2-4 °C) was sufficient to change almost all soil, microbial, and enzyme properties and related processes. As a consequence, the revealed microbial regulatory mechanism of stability of soil C storage is strongly depended on the magnitude of future climate warming.

How to cite: Zhou, J., Wen, Y., Shi, L., Dippold, M., Kuzyakov, Y., Zang, H., Jones, D., and Blagodatskaya, E.: The magnitude of temperature increase matters: how will soil organic mineralization respond to future climate warming?, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-269,, 2019

This abstract will not be presented.