Digging into lake microbiomes

Two new papers have just been published from our RELATED project.  The work 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.

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 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, bacteria in darker waters may possess functional genes for degrading organic matter, thereby priming their productivity. I'm particularly proud of the teamwork on this one, which involved almost the entire group!

 Chloé hard at work sampling microbes.

Chloé hard at work sampling microbes.