Ecological Controls over Soil Organic Carbon Cycling: An Emerging Frontier in Ecology
Monday, August 10, 2015: 1:30 PM-5:00 PM
317, Baltimore Convention Center
A. Stuart Grandy
Sasha C. Reed
While the scientific community has long recognized that there are biological, mineral, and chemical controls over soil carbon cycling, an emerging area of interdisciplinary research examines the interactions between these fundamental controls. This work is providing novel, ecosystem-level insights into how carbon is cycling and being stabilized in soils. Indeed, focusing solely on biology, mineralogy, or chemistry cannot provide the holistic perspective necessary to address critical uncertainties in soil carbon cycling, particularly in the context of global change. Accordingly, new integrated approaches offer exciting opportunities to bring an ecological perspective to a globally-relevant topic. Our organized oral session will highlight some of the most inspiring recent advances in soil ecology and will provide a range of perspectives that, together, create a coherent understanding of the complex controls that regulate ecosystem carbon cycling belowground.
Soil carbon cycling is vital to considerations of climate change, soil fertility, and ecosystem function, yet our understanding of the processes that regulate soil carbon cycling and storage remains disconnected. In part this is because important controls reside in different scientific fields (e.g., microbiology, geology, physical chemistry). Thus, synthetic efforts such as organized sessions at national meetings provide an essential venue for joining ideas. We propose to gather global experts that, when joined, offer an inclusive view of the complex ecosystem controls regulating the status and fate of soil carbon pools. Such an understanding of the connections between biotic and abiotic soil processes is a significant challenge in ecosystem and global change ecology, with implications ranging from answering fundamental ecological questions to determining new solutions for ecosystem management. The speakers for our proposed session, all of whom have already accepted our invitation, will focus on different aspects of integrating microbial, mineral, and chemical controls over soil carbon dynamics. Our organized oral session features a multi-disciplinary lineup with speakers that span different career stages, but all of whom are helping to forge new paths in our understanding of the global carbon cycle. This session is particularly relevant to considerations of ecological science at the frontier, as it represents an emerging understanding of a fundamental ecological topic, and thus is well-aligned with the theme of next year’s ESA meeting.