Project Stabilisierung der Erdoberfläche durch mikrobiologische Prozesse entlang eines Klimagradienten (Projekt 13 SPP…

Basic data

Title:
Stabilisierung der Erdoberfläche durch mikrobiologische Prozesse entlang eines Klimagradienten (Projekt 13 SPP 1803 Earthshape)
Duration:
01/01/2016 to 31/12/2018
Abstract / short description:
Earth surface processes are controlled primarily by climate and tectonic forces. Likewise, climate controls the geographical distribution and composition of flora and fauna widely. Most of the Earth is covered by soils and sediments. In this upper layer processes of decomposition of organic matter and structure formation are mediated by microorganisms. Accordingly, the question arises how and to which extend microorganisms control the stabilization and formation of the Earth’s surface. We hypothesize that the mechanisms of stabilization by microorganism occur under all climate conditions but with varying intensity and different microbiological community structure in the presence of different types of vegetation providing energy to the microorganisms. Further, we assume that initial pedogenesis following soil erosion, i.e. structure formation differs in intensity and microbial community structure between erosional and depositional sites and that related process intensities are controlled by climate. To address this assumptions, we conduct research in three primary study areas along a climate gradient from north to south in Chile. In each area, typical topographic positions, (i) geomorphodynamic stable reference site on hill top with no erosion or deposition, (ii) eroded site at the upper slopes, and (iii) depositional site at toe slopes, will be used for an in-field rainfall simulation experiment and a laboratory structure simulation experiment. We use rainfall simulation under natural conditions to analyze the erosion resistance of the land surface as a self-regulatory process after hundreds to thousands of years of soil formation under equilibrium conditions. The soil structure simulation experiment applies wet/dry cycles to samples from all climate regions and topographic positions to highlight soil structure formation with and without microorganism as a crucial part of surface stabilization processes. Both experiments are designed to better understand how microbiological processes control soil structure formation and stabilize the Earth’s surface, how microbial-mediated soil structure formation is influenced by redistribution of solid material and how microbial communities react on changes related to soil erosion under different climate conditions. Particularly high resolution imaging techniques like epifluorescence microscopy, SEM-EDX, confocal laser scanning microscopy and NanoSIMS can help to better understand the interrelationship of microorganisms and structure formation. These cutting-edge technologies, combined with integrated stable isotope techniques and state-of-the-art microbiological, soil chemical analyses and modern techniques of soil erosion research, will serve to identify and understand microbial-mediated key processes of land surface stabilization.
Keywords:
mikrobielle Prozesse
Pedogenese
Mikromorphologie
Bodenstrukturstabilität
biodiversity
Biodiversität

Involved staff

Managers

Geography Research Area
Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen
Department of Geoscience
Faculty of Science
Geography Research Area
Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science

Other staff

Bernhard, Nadine
Geography Research Area
Department of Geoscience, Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Geography Research Area
Department of Geoscience
Faculty of Science

Funders

Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
Bonn, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany
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