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Integrated response of plant, microbial and N Cycling InTEractions to precipitation patterns

Integrated response of plant, microbial and N Cycling InTEractions to precipitation patterns

Increased frequency and intensity of extreme climatic events are predicted in Europe, including severe droughts and intense precipitation events. Such changes will influence plant physiology and soil microbial activity, inducing changes in ecosystem functioning such as primary productivity, nutrient cycling and carbon balance. Thus, an improved mechanistic comprehension of ecosystem responses to altered precipitation patterns is required to adequately assess responses to future climatic conditions. This must be conducted within a research framework that can address couplings between biogeochemical cycles by integrating the plant and soil players and their interactive effects on soil nitrogen cycling. The effects of contrasting precipitation patterns will be addressed in an integrated, multidisciplinary approach combining state-of-the-art molecular microbiology techniques with stable isotopes approaches and biogeochemical methods. The overall goal is to understand the temporal and spatial couplings between i) precipitation patterns, ii) the structure and activity of the soil microbial community and the associated soil nitrogen transformations, and iii) plant water and nitrogen uptake, and how these couplings affect the stability of ecosystems functions. The proposed work will i) investigate which active microbial groups are most involved in the response of the plant-microbial system to precipitation patterns, ii) carry out temporally resolved investigations of precipitation patterns impacts on the outcome of plant-microbial competition for nitrogen and the coupling between plant water uptake depth and soil microbial activity, iii) assess the coupling between the stability of soil microbial community and of major functions that it performs, in response to altered precipitation patterns. The outcome of this research should enable valuable insights into the future implications of changes in European summer climate for soil nitrogen availability, and provide crucial information for the development of mitigation and adaptation strategies.


INRA Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique -Centre de DIJON

ANR grant: 235 382 euros
Beginning and duration: octobre 2013 - 36 mois


ANR Programme: JCJC - SVSE 7 - Biodiversité, évolution, écologie et agronomie (JCJC SVSE 7) 2013

Project ID: ANR-13-JSV7-0004

Scientific manager : Romain BARNARD, UMR Agroécologie