The Ecology of Enzymes in the Environment: New Insights into Controls on Enzyme Production, in situ Activity, and Turnover and Their Roles in Ecosystem Responses to Environmental Change

Wednesday, August 7, 2013: 8:00 AM-11:30 AM
205AB, Minneapolis Convention Center
Matthew D. Wallenstein, Colorado State University
Michael N. Weintraub, University of Toledo; and Colin Bell, Colorado State University
Colin Bell, Colorado State University
In order to degrade complex organic matter into assimilable forms, microbes and plants produce and release extracellular enzymes into their environment. Thus, enzymes are integral to biogeochemical cycles, food webs, and the degradation of environmental contaminants. Enzyme assays are frequently conducted in soils and aquatic environments, but interpreting this data can be challenging due to our limited understanding of the ecology of enzymes. What are the major controls on enzyme production, in situ activity, and turnover? Do these controls differ among environments? How do enzyme activities change in response to changes in the environment? Which taxa produce specific enzymes? The NSF funded Research Coordination Network “Enzymes in the Environment” was formed in 2009 to stimulate and synthesize fundamental research into the ecology of enzymes. The goal of this symposium is to share recent advances in this field, and discuss how these emerging paradigms can improve our understanding of ecosystem responses to environmental change. We will feature new insights gained from creative experimentation, novel techniques, and new approaches to modeling enzyme activities in a range of environments. The session will begin with an overview talk that will provide context, articulate the fundamental questions, and preview recent advances. The next few talks will present research that addresses fundamental questions about enzyme production and turnover. These will be followed by research examining the role of enzymes in affecting ecosystem responses to environmental change. Finally, we will discuss how these recent advances are being incorporated into biogeochemical models across scales. The session will conclude with a moderated discussion to synthesize the themes of the symposium.
Biogeosciences Section, Microbial Ecology Section
8:00 AM
 Enzymes in the environment: What do we really know?
Matthew D. Wallenstein, Colorado State University
9:00 AM
 Relationships among climate, soil nutrients, and enzyme stoichiometry in low-latitude ecosystems: A pan-tropical analysis
Bonnie G. Waring, University of Minnesota; Samantha R. Weintraub, University of Colorado; Robert Sinsabaugh, University of New Mexico
9:30 AM
9:40 AM
 Resilience of extracellular enzymes to environmental change
Steven D. Allison, University of California; Charlotte Alster, Colorado State University; Ying Lu, University of California, Irvine; Donovan P. German, University of California, Irvine
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