Friday, August 12, 2011: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
Ballroom F, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Christine Hawkes
Co-organizer: Benjamin A. Sikes
Moderator: Benjamin A. SikesSoil microbes are a major determinant of terrestrial ecosystem processes, but we still do not have a basic understanding of their role in ecosystem responses to climate change. Partly this uncertainty arises from the highly complex and variable nature of microbial communities, but it is also due to the lack of an integrated framework for understanding and predicting microbial community function. In this symposium, we will address how our basic knowledge of microbial community patterns and processes can be extended to a more predictive model of microbial responses to expected future climate change. A predictive framework for soil microbial responses has the potential to directly improve both climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies required for environmental stewardship. To make the link from microbes to ecosystems, topics span across scales from rRNA structure and enzymatic responses to biogeochemical cycling and microbial biogeography, including both conceptual and experimental approaches. We provide a broad introduction to the idea of a mechanistic framework by microbial characteristics and processes that may be predictive of ecosystem responses. We also consider the roles of resources and pulse dynamics in microbial responses, as well as the importance of links between plants and soils. At the end of the symposium, a moderated panel discussion will address the current state of a predictive framework and highlight future needs, as well as allow time for audience questions and participation to facilitate further integration and synthesis of ideas. This symposium and the framework we hope to develop will be useful in addressing microbial roles in ecosystem climate responses, but will also appeal to the broader society that is interested in developing predictive frameworks and other tools for ecosystem management under a changing climate.
Soil Ecology, Microbial Ecology (To be considered)
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