Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition

Russell Monson, David L. Lipson, Sean P. Burns, Andrew A. Turnipseed, Anthony C. Delany, Mark W. Williams, Steven K. Schmidt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

355 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most terrestrial carbon sequestration at mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere occurs in seasonal, montane forest ecosystems1. Winter respiratory carbon dioxide losses from these ecosystems are high, and over half of the carbon assimilated by photosynthesis in the summer can be lost the following winter2,3. The amount of winter carbon dioxide loss is potentially susceptible to changes in the depth of the snowpack; a shallower snowpack has less insulation potential, causing colder soil temperatures and potentially lower soil respiration rates. Recent climate analyses have shown widespread declines in the winter snowpack of mountain ecosystems in the western USA and Europe that are coupled to positive temperature anomalies 4-6. Here we study the effect of changes in snow cover on soil carbon cycling within the context of natural climate variation. We use a six-year record of net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange in a subalpine forest to show that years with a reduced winter snowpack are accompanied by significantly lower rates of soil respiration. Furthermore, we show that the cause of the high sensitivity of soil respiration rate to changes in snow depth is a unique soil microbial community that exhibits exponential growth and high rates of substrate utilization at the cold temperatures that exist beneath the snow. Our observations suggest that a warmer climate may change soil carbon sequestration rates in forest ecosystems owing to changes in the depth of the insulating snow cover.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)711-714
Number of pages4
JournalNature
Volume439
Issue number7077
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 9 2006
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

Climate
Respiration
Soil
Snow
Ecosystem
Respiratory Rate
Carbon Sequestration
Carbon Dioxide
Carbon
Climate Change
Photosynthesis
Forests
Temperature
Growth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

Cite this

Monson, R., Lipson, D. L., Burns, S. P., Turnipseed, A. A., Delany, A. C., Williams, M. W., & Schmidt, S. K. (2006). Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition. Nature, 439(7077), 711-714. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04555

Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition. / Monson, Russell; Lipson, David L.; Burns, Sean P.; Turnipseed, Andrew A.; Delany, Anthony C.; Williams, Mark W.; Schmidt, Steven K.

In: Nature, Vol. 439, No. 7077, 09.02.2006, p. 711-714.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Monson, R, Lipson, DL, Burns, SP, Turnipseed, AA, Delany, AC, Williams, MW & Schmidt, SK 2006, 'Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition', Nature, vol. 439, no. 7077, pp. 711-714. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04555
Monson R, Lipson DL, Burns SP, Turnipseed AA, Delany AC, Williams MW et al. Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition. Nature. 2006 Feb 9;439(7077):711-714. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature04555
Monson, Russell ; Lipson, David L. ; Burns, Sean P. ; Turnipseed, Andrew A. ; Delany, Anthony C. ; Williams, Mark W. ; Schmidt, Steven K. / Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition. In: Nature. 2006 ; Vol. 439, No. 7077. pp. 711-714.
@article{9cee0c76d38a44da860c24af6b999e55,
title = "Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition",
abstract = "Most terrestrial carbon sequestration at mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere occurs in seasonal, montane forest ecosystems1. Winter respiratory carbon dioxide losses from these ecosystems are high, and over half of the carbon assimilated by photosynthesis in the summer can be lost the following winter2,3. The amount of winter carbon dioxide loss is potentially susceptible to changes in the depth of the snowpack; a shallower snowpack has less insulation potential, causing colder soil temperatures and potentially lower soil respiration rates. Recent climate analyses have shown widespread declines in the winter snowpack of mountain ecosystems in the western USA and Europe that are coupled to positive temperature anomalies 4-6. Here we study the effect of changes in snow cover on soil carbon cycling within the context of natural climate variation. We use a six-year record of net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange in a subalpine forest to show that years with a reduced winter snowpack are accompanied by significantly lower rates of soil respiration. Furthermore, we show that the cause of the high sensitivity of soil respiration rate to changes in snow depth is a unique soil microbial community that exhibits exponential growth and high rates of substrate utilization at the cold temperatures that exist beneath the snow. Our observations suggest that a warmer climate may change soil carbon sequestration rates in forest ecosystems owing to changes in the depth of the insulating snow cover.",
author = "Russell Monson and Lipson, {David L.} and Burns, {Sean P.} and Turnipseed, {Andrew A.} and Delany, {Anthony C.} and Williams, {Mark W.} and Schmidt, {Steven K.}",
year = "2006",
month = "2",
day = "9",
doi = "10.1038/nature04555",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "439",
pages = "711--714",
journal = "Nature",
issn = "0028-0836",
publisher = "Nature Publishing Group",
number = "7077",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Winter forest soil respiration controlled by climate and microbial community composition

AU - Monson, Russell

AU - Lipson, David L.

AU - Burns, Sean P.

AU - Turnipseed, Andrew A.

AU - Delany, Anthony C.

AU - Williams, Mark W.

AU - Schmidt, Steven K.

PY - 2006/2/9

Y1 - 2006/2/9

N2 - Most terrestrial carbon sequestration at mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere occurs in seasonal, montane forest ecosystems1. Winter respiratory carbon dioxide losses from these ecosystems are high, and over half of the carbon assimilated by photosynthesis in the summer can be lost the following winter2,3. The amount of winter carbon dioxide loss is potentially susceptible to changes in the depth of the snowpack; a shallower snowpack has less insulation potential, causing colder soil temperatures and potentially lower soil respiration rates. Recent climate analyses have shown widespread declines in the winter snowpack of mountain ecosystems in the western USA and Europe that are coupled to positive temperature anomalies 4-6. Here we study the effect of changes in snow cover on soil carbon cycling within the context of natural climate variation. We use a six-year record of net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange in a subalpine forest to show that years with a reduced winter snowpack are accompanied by significantly lower rates of soil respiration. Furthermore, we show that the cause of the high sensitivity of soil respiration rate to changes in snow depth is a unique soil microbial community that exhibits exponential growth and high rates of substrate utilization at the cold temperatures that exist beneath the snow. Our observations suggest that a warmer climate may change soil carbon sequestration rates in forest ecosystems owing to changes in the depth of the insulating snow cover.

AB - Most terrestrial carbon sequestration at mid-latitudes in the Northern Hemisphere occurs in seasonal, montane forest ecosystems1. Winter respiratory carbon dioxide losses from these ecosystems are high, and over half of the carbon assimilated by photosynthesis in the summer can be lost the following winter2,3. The amount of winter carbon dioxide loss is potentially susceptible to changes in the depth of the snowpack; a shallower snowpack has less insulation potential, causing colder soil temperatures and potentially lower soil respiration rates. Recent climate analyses have shown widespread declines in the winter snowpack of mountain ecosystems in the western USA and Europe that are coupled to positive temperature anomalies 4-6. Here we study the effect of changes in snow cover on soil carbon cycling within the context of natural climate variation. We use a six-year record of net ecosystem carbon dioxide exchange in a subalpine forest to show that years with a reduced winter snowpack are accompanied by significantly lower rates of soil respiration. Furthermore, we show that the cause of the high sensitivity of soil respiration rate to changes in snow depth is a unique soil microbial community that exhibits exponential growth and high rates of substrate utilization at the cold temperatures that exist beneath the snow. Our observations suggest that a warmer climate may change soil carbon sequestration rates in forest ecosystems owing to changes in the depth of the insulating snow cover.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=32544444625&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=32544444625&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1038/nature04555

DO - 10.1038/nature04555

M3 - Article

C2 - 16467835

AN - SCOPUS:32544444625

VL - 439

SP - 711

EP - 714

JO - Nature

JF - Nature

SN - 0028-0836

IS - 7077

ER -