The study was conducted at the Harvard Forest long-term climate change research site, where researchers were able to examine how atmospheric warming and nitrogen deposition are likely to alter natural ecosystems under future climate change scenarios.
As part of the experiment, researchers manipulated the soil communities to establish four levels of community complexity, allowing them to see which types of community would be most affected by the global change factors such as warming temperatures.
The study highlights the importance of understanding biological processes if scientists are going to be able to predict the consequences of climate change, said Hefin Jones
, a professor at Cardiff University and a leading expert in climate change research. He was not affiliated with the study.
“Our current understanding of carbon cycle feedbacks to climate change stem mostly from the physical sciences; this study shows that precise global predictions can be achieved only if we understand the interactions between organisms,” he said.
Co-authors of the study, “Biotic Interactions Mediate Soil Microbial Feedbacks to Climate Change
,” include Daniel S. Maynard
, Kristofer Covey
, and Mark A. Bradford
of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies.
The original paper:
Thomas W. Crowther, Stephen M. Thomas, Daniel S. Maynard, Petr Baldrian, Kristofer Covey, Serita D. Frey, Linda T. A. van Diepen, and Mark A. Bradford. 2015. Biotic Interactions Mediate Soil Microbial Feedbacks to Climate Change. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 10.1073/pnas.1502956112