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A warming climate decreases microbial diversity, study finds

Warming climate reduces microbial diversity, study finds

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma’s Institute for Environmental Genomics examine plant diversity and take samples for microbial diversity analysis. Credit: Institute of Environmental Genomics, University of Oklahoma

Researchers at the University of Oklahoma have found that the warming climate is reducing microbial diversity, which is essential for soil health. Led by Jizhong Zhou, Ph.D., the director of OU’s Institute for Environmental Genomics, the research team conducted an eight-year experiment that showed that global warming played a predominant role in shaping microbial biodiversity, with a significant negative effect. Their findings have been published in Nature Microbiology

“Climate change is a major driver of biodiversity loss from the local to global scale, which could further alter the functioning and services of ecosystems,” Zhou said. “Despite the critical importance of subsurface soil biodiversity in maintaining ecosystem functions, the way in which climate change could affect the richness and abundant distribution of soil microbial communities (bacteria, fungi, protists) has not been resolved.”

Using a long-term multifactor experimental field site at OU, researchers at the university’s Institute for Environmental Genomics examined the changes of soil microbial communities in response to experimental warming, altered precipitation and clipping (annual removal of biomass) on the grassland soil. , bacteria, fungi and protistan biodiversity since 2009.

“Our findings show explicit evidence that long-term climate warming reduces microbial biodiversity in a field environment,” Zhou said. “In addition, this is the first study to document the distinct responses of both spore- and non-spore-forming microbes to climate warming, and this is the first study to document the predominant role of warming in regulating microbial biodiversity.”

Warming climate reduces microbial diversity, study finds

Researchers at the Institute for Environmental Genomics use a heater to simulate global warming at a long-term multifactor experimental field site at the University of Oklahoma. Credit: Institute of Environmental Genomics, University of Oklahoma

“Our findings have important implications for predicting ecological impacts of climate change and for ecosystem management,” he added. “In addition, since the effects of climate warming on biodiversity are mainly reduced moisture, the warming-induced biodiversity loss could be more severe in arid regions – arid, semi-arid and dry-subhumid ecosystems covering 41% of the country.” globally.”

Zhou says a better understanding of future warming-induced precipitation changes could be important in mitigating the warming-induced decline in biodiversity.


Research outlines the effects of climate warming on microbial network interactions


More information:
Linwei Wu et al, Reduction of microbial diversity in grassland soils is driven by long-term climate warming, Nature Microbiology (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41564-022-01147-3

Provided by the University of Oklahoma


Quote: A warming climate reduces microbial diversity, study finds (2022, June 14) retrieved June 15, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-06-climate-decreases-microbial-diversity.html

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