T-ERC_COG - Tremplin-ERC Consolidator Grant

The driving role of the microbial carbon balance in ecosystem responses to climate change – BALANCE

Submission summary

Soil microorganisms globally are thought to be a source of carbon (C) because of their central role in releasing greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide and methane). Certain bacteria, archaea and protists consume inorganic C such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane, but they are presumed either to be rare community members or with insignificant C assimilation capacities compared to plants. Yet emerging evidence shows that microbial C uptake can contribute significantly to terrestrial primary productivity. Given that both microbial C uptake and release coexist in soils, an enduring question is to which extent and under which conditions these microbial C processes counterbalance each other. Particularly, any decoupling among these coexisting microbial processes resulting from climate change is likely to have consequences for the whole-soil C balance, with unforeseen consequences for future climate conditions. BALANCE will use integrative microbiome studies to advance our fundamental knowledge of how microbial physiological responses to climate change modulate soil-atmosphere C exchanges in peatland ecosystems— a major soil C pool. Specifically, this project aims to 1) probe the metabolic rates that underpin microbial C balance. 2) Examine the biotic and environmental controls of the microbial C balance across space and time to extrapolate its control over peatland C dynamics at the global peatland scale. 3) Perform observational and experimental studies to reveal how climate change alters microbial C balance and predict the consequences at the global peatland scale using geospatial modelling. To fulfil these aims, this work will utilize a powerful approach that harnesses metagenomic, biogeochemistry and geospatial modelling. Its achievement will mark a step-change in microbial ecology theory and understanding, and address a critical research challenge of the Anthropocene in a key natural ecosystem: how climate change will impact soil C cycling by the soil microbiome.

Project coordinator


The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.



Help of the ANR 112,341 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: June 2023 - 24 Months

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