Soil microbes carry out many important ecosystem functions such as fixing and cycling atmospheric nitrogen, carbon, sulphur and phosphorus, ensuring they are available for uptake by plants. Given their importance, there is considerable interest in identifying the functional roles of soil microbes and exploring how they have been impacted by changing forest management. Further, by understanding how these impacts can be mitigated we can ensure healthy functioning forest soils and resilient forest ecosystems in the future, meeting both conservation (Woodland Trust Research Objectives: Trees for the Future, Woodland Soils) and forest management objectives (Forest Research themes: Ecosystem Services, Forest Management). This project will determine how soil chemistry, microbial functional diversity and microbial functions are influenced by the interaction between naturalness (natives and non-natives), tree species (broadleaves, conifers) and tree diversity (two species mixes, monocultures). Methods include i) Next Generation Sequencing of genomic DNA extracted from soil samples to determine the composition and functional diversity of microbial communities; ii) Ecoplates for physiological profiling of the microbes at the community level; iii) analysis of soil chemical and physiological profiles. This novel work will reveal how common UK tree species in different mixed combinations interact to influence the soil microbial communities and the ecosystem functions they undertake.
|Effective start/end date||1/09/19 → 1/09/23|
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