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© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
© Author(s) 2019. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Submitted as: original research article 23 Sep 2019

Submitted as: original research article | 23 Sep 2019

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This preprint is currently under review for the journal SOIL.

Short-and long-term temperature responses of soil denitrifier net N2O efflux rates, inter-profile N2O dynamics, and microbial genetic potentials

Kate M. Buckeridge1,a, Kate A. Edwards2, Kyungjin Min1,b, Susan E. Ziegler3, and Sharon A. Billings1 Kate M. Buckeridge et al.
  • 1Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biologyand Kansas Biological Survey, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, USA
  • 2Canadian Forest Service, Natural Resources Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada
  • 3Department of Earth Sciences, Memorial University, St. John's, NL, Canada
  • apresent address: Global Academy of Agriculture and Food Security, The Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, UK
  • bpresent address: Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC, USA

Abstract. Production and reduction of nitrous oxide (N2O) by soil denitrifiers influences atmospheric concentrations of this potent greenhouse gas. Accurate climate projections of net N2O flux have three key uncertainties: (1) short- vs. long-term responses to warming; (2) interactions among soil horizons; and (3) temperature responses of different steps in the denitrification pathway. We addressed these uncertainties by sampling soil from a boreal forest climate transect encompassing a 5.2 °C difference in mean annual temperature, and incubating the soil horizons in isolation and together at three ecologically relevant temperatures in conditions that promote denitrification. Both short-term exposure to warmer temperatures and long-term exposure to a warmer climate increased N2O emissions from organic and mineral soils; an isotopic tracer suggested an increase in N2O production was more important than a decline in N2O reduction. Short-term warming promoted reduction of organic horizon-derived N2O by mineral soil when these horizons were incubated together. The abundance of nirS (a precursor gene for N2O production) was not sensitive to temperature, while that of nosZ clade I (a gene for N2O reduction) decreased with short-term warming in both horizons and was higher from a warmer climate. These results suggest a decoupling of gene abundance and process rates in these soils that differs across horizons and timescales. In spite of these variations, our results suggest a consistent, positive response of denitrifier-mediated, net N2O efflux rates to temperature across timescales in these boreal forests. Our work also highlights the importance of understanding cross-horizon N2O fluxes for developing a predictive understanding of net N2O efflux from soils.

Kate M. Buckeridge et al.

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Kate M. Buckeridge et al.

Kate M. Buckeridge et al.


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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We do not understand the short- and long-term temperature response of soil denitrifiers, which produce and consume N2O. Boreal forest soils from a long-term climate gradient were incubated in short-term warming experiments. We found stronger N2O consumption at depth, inconsistent microbial gene abundance and function, yet consistent higher N2O emissions from warmer-climate soils in warmer temperatures. Consideration of our results in models will contribute to improved climate projections.
We do not understand the short- and long-term temperature response of soil denitrifiers, which...