Testing the role of nutrient input thresholds in governing microbial-mediated carbon sequestration for temperate peatlands
Peatlands are a unique ecosystem and a globally important carbon store. They are also under threat. Climate change is bringing temperatures rises and shifts in peatland hydrology, but less is known about the role of nutrients, especially phosphorus and nitrogen.
Human activities such as agriculture and other land use changes, have increased nutrient deposition rates around the world, which could have major implications for nutrient impoverished peat bogs. But this outcome remains highly uncertain because higher nutrient input could either enhance primary productivity, leading to more carbon storage, or trigger more efficient decomposition of organic matter by microbes, which would reduce how much carbon gets stored.
In this NERC-funded project, we will combine palaeoclimate data and genomic sequencing of microbial communities to better understand how peatlands have responded to changes in nutrient input over the last 2000 years.
Our findings should help establish more definitive estimates of peatland carbon storage over the 21st century.
Funding Body: Natural Environment Research Council
Period: April 2023 - April 2024
Funding Body: Faculty of Social Science & Public Policy
Period: November 2022 - July 2023