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Digging into lake microbiomes

last modified Sep 14, 2018 10:52 AM

New research from the Tanentzap lab shows how future changes in forest cover around lakes will influence the contributions of inland waters to global carbon cycles.


The first paper published in ISME finds that the positive effects of microbial diversity on CO2 production depends on present and past environmental gradients.  Using a space-for-time substitution for forest greening, the study also finds that a doubling in the tree cover around lakes can increase CO2 production by five-times.  More broadly, the work highlights how widely reported biodiversity-ecosystem functioning relationships need to be contextualised with other ecosystem properties.

Orland C, Emilson EJS, Basiliko N, Mykytczuk NCS, Gunn JM, Tanentzap AJ. (2018) Microbiome functioning depends on individual and interactive effects of the environment and community structure. The ISME Journal.


A second paper published in Global Change Biology sheds light on the mechanisms underpinning the decomposition of terrestrial organic matter in lake sediments.  Using the NERC-funded RELATED experimental platform, the study finds that identical organic matter additions to sediments have contrasting outcomes for carbon cycling depending on lake-specific characteristics.  In lakes with clear waters, future increases in terrestrial organic matter inputs can stimulate CO2 production because of photo-oxidation.  By contrast, bacterial in darker waters may possess functional genes for degrading organic matter, thereby priming their productivity.

Fitch A, Orland C, Willer D, Emilson EJS, Tanentsap AJ. (2018) Feasting on terrestrial organic matter: Dining in a dark lake changes microbial decomposition. Global Change Biology.