Global patterns and controls of the soil microbial biomass response to elevated CO2

Shucheng Li, Shu Xie, Shijie Zhang, Shilin Miao, Shiming Tang*, Hongyang Chen, Qiuwen Zhan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Elevated CO2 concentrations (eCO2) have been widely observed to stimulate microbial growth. However, the effect of eCO2 on soil microbial biomass may depend on several factors and their interactions, such as the increase in atmospheric CO2 levels, experimental duration and mean annual precipitation (MAP). We conducted a global meta-analysis from 62 studies that included the responses of soil microbial biomass to eCO2. We found a significant positive eCO2 effect on the bacterial biomass (+9.1 %), fungi (+11 %), arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) (+10.2 %) and actinomycetes (ACT) (+16.4 %). The positive effects were mainly observed in studies with low eCO2 levels (≤200 ppm) rather than high levels of eCO2 (>200 ppm), which could be attributable to soil N limitation. It was also found that eCO2 had a significant positive effect on soil microbial biomass in the short term (≤3 y) and under a high MAP (>800 mm). Importantly, we revealed interactive effects between the eCO2 levels, experimental duration on soil microbial biomass. With an increase in eCO2, the total microbial biomass (TMB), bacterial biomass and fungal biomass decreased over the long term (>3 y). These findings indicate the need to incorporate interactions between eCO2 and environmental factors into ecosystem models, to predict future global climate change effects more accurately and their impact on ecosystem functions.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 116153
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 15-Dec-2022

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