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United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2020

BELOW-GROUND SOIL MICROBIAL FUNCTIONING AND STRUCTURE ACROSS SIX RANGELAND SITES IN THE CENTRAL US : IMPLICATIONS FOR RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE TO DROUGHT

Drought Microbial Rangeland

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Titre : BELOW-GROUND SOIL MICROBIAL FUNCTIONING AND STRUCTURE ACROSS SIX RANGELAND SITES IN THE CENTRAL US : IMPLICATIONS FOR RESISTANCE AND RESILIENCE TO DROUGHT

Identification : 1023056

Pays : Etats Unis

Durée : START : 16 AUG 2020 TERM : 15 AUG 2023

Résumé
Climate models predict an intensification of the hydrological cycle, with more arid regions, such as the US Great Plains, forecast to become drier and experience more intense and widespread drought. This predicted intensification of drought has the potential to catastrophically impact Great Plains rangeland and agriculture production if past droughts are any indication of the future response. For example, the widespread, extreme drought of 2012 affected 65.45% of the continental US and cost the US $30 billion in agricultural losses. Thus, there is a pressing scientific, economic and societal imperative to understand the impacts of intensifying drought on agricultural ecosystems, particularly those deemed most vulnerable to these events, such as rangeland agro-ecosystems of the Great Plains.To best prepare the Great Plains for a changing climate, I propose to conduct a study that will assess sensitivity to drought across the Great Plains, with the goal of best preparing land managers, ranchers, and farmers. The sites with higher sensitivity to drought will require higher mitigation efforts to sustain rangeland productivity, while the lower sensitivity sites will require lower efforts. Thus far, aboveground plant studies have predominantly found that the most xeric (dry) sites were the most sensitive to drought compared to the more mesic (wet) sites that were found to be much more resilient to drought. Although we have a fair understanding of aboveground sensitivities to drought, there is still a poor understanding of how belowground communities respond to drought with mixed results across different ecosystem types and climate. At this time, there have been zero studies that have measured belowground sensitivity to drought across a range of sites. The belowground (soil microbiome) serves a central role in ecosystem functioning through nutrient cycling, decomposition, and carbon sequestration ; and thus, is highly important to study and understand. Therefore, I propose to study for the first time how the belowground (microbes - bacteria and fungi ; soil nutrients - carbon and nitrogen) responds to drought and compare sensitivity to drought across six grassland/rangeland sites across the Great Plains. These sites span across four different grassland/rangeland types with mean annual precipitation (MAP) ranging from 246 mm at the most xeric site to 892 mm at the most mesic site with sites in Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico. I will use a greenhouse experiment to reduce variability/external factors and plant the dominant mixtures of plants in soil collected from each site. I will then measure microbial (bacteria and fungal) structure and functioning along with soil nutrient (carbon and nitrogen) impacts. This research will allow us for the first time to quantify sensitivity to drought in the belowground and inform land managers at these six sites of these sensitivities to allow for best management practices.

Objectifs
The major goal of this project is to complete a researchproject as a major chapter of the PD’s PhD dissertation project. This project has the major goal of expanding the knowledge on belowground response to drought across 6 sites over a mean annual precipitation gradient. The objectives are listed below:Publish three manuscripts from the project in high impact journals.Attend and present at 6 professional conferences during the project.Mentor an undergraduate student and assist them in conducting an independent research project.Finish dissertation project and obtain PhD.Set up and execute greenhouse project.Analyze all relevant data.Share all available data with land managers, policy makers, and farmers.

Financement total : $180,000

Performing Institution : COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
Investigator : $180,000

Présentation : USDA (NIFA)

Page publiée le 27 novembre 2021