SYMP 9 - Assessing the relative contributions of fungi and bacteria to terrestrial biogeochemical processes: state of the art

Tuesday, August 9, 2011: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
Ballroom G, Austin Convention Center
Organizer: Matthew D. Wallenstein
Co-organizer: Kabir Peay
Moderator: Erik A. Lilleskov
Fungi and bacteria are the primary engines of litter decomposition and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems. Most studies incorporate these organisms as a single compartment (microbial biomass) or a simple ratio. However, it is increasingly clear that such broad categorizations are not satisfactory in describing the functional characteristics of microbial communities and their implications for rates of ecosystem function. This symposium features state of the art research on the roles of bacteria and fungi in biogeochemical processes and will assess the need for a more nuanced functional view of microbial soil communities. A major focus of this symposium is distinguishing the unique and overlapping contributions of fungi and bacteria to ecosystem processes and identifying the key functional groups that should be identified and quantified in future studies. The invited speakers are leaders in their field and have applied cutting edge techniques, such as next generation sequencing, proteomics, stable isotope probing and environmental enzyme assays, to parse out the relationship between microbial community structure and function in terrestrial environments. Speakers will address the meaningfulness of current metrics for describing microbial community structure (e.g. Bacteria:Fungal ratios), re-assess traditional paradigms about fungal and bacterial functional niche partitioning (e.g. activity in reducing environments and contribution to denitrification), and report on the most recent efforts at fine-scale functional partitioning of fungi and bacteria in nutrient cycling, lignocellulose decomposition, enzyme production, soil respiration, primary mineral weathering, as well as large scale drivers of fungal and bacterial community structure and bacterial fungal interactions that might affect ecosystem processes. The symposium will help to synthesize leading thought in this field and to develop a new paradigm for microbial and ecosystems ecologists. In addition, the symposium aims to start a dialogue between mycologists, bacteriologists and ecosystems ecologists to help develop a common research agenda.
Microbial Ecology, Biogeochemistry
1:35 PM
Seasonal variation in fungal:bacterial dominance and its relationship to environmental factors and ecosystem processes
Michael S. Strickland, Virginia Tech; Noah Fierer, University of Colorado; Mark A. Bradford, Yale University
2:00 PM
Trait-based modeling of microbial decomposition
Steven D. Allison, University of California
2:25 PM
The imprint of Ascomycota on the biogeochemistry of arid ecosystems
Robert Sinsabaugh, University of New Mexico; Andrea Porras-Alfaro, Western Illinois University; Jose Herrera, National Science Foundation
2:50 PM
Fungal and bacterial growth measurements in soil
Johannes Rousk, Lund University
3:15 PM
3:25 PM
Global roots of soil fungi: evidence that ectomycorrhizal fungi influence the composition and distribution of saprotrophic fungal communities
Krista L. McGuire, Barnard College, Columbia University; Noah Fierer, University of Colorado; Steven D. Allison, University of California; Kathleen K. Treseder, University of California, Irvine
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