Jueves, 22 Diciembre 2016 16:58

UCO researchers publish in Nature new evidence on the effects of climate change

Escrito por

G.C.-E-L.

CeiA3 researchers at the University of Cordoba together with an international team have published in Nature journal new evidence on the effects of climate change 

 

An international team of researchers led by Rey Juan Carlos University, among which are researchers of the Agrifood Campus of International Excellence ceiA3 at the University of Córdoba has provided further evidence of the lethal effects of climate change through a new empirical study in the prestigious journal Nature. Results from this study suggest that factors associated with climate change, such as increased aridity will cause disruptions in the cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, vital to the development of life. 
The work has been published today in the prestigious journal Nature and is etitled 'Decoupling of nutrient cycles as a function of overall aridity in dryland soils'.  This work was led by Manuel Delgado Baquerizo , post -doctoral researcher at Rey Juan Carlos University and researcher José Luis Quero, from the Forestry Engineering Department of School of Agricultural
and Forestry Engineering (ETSIAM).
The results of this study indicate that increased aridity resulting from climate change will decrease the abundance of nutrients mainly linked to biological processes, such as carbon and nitrogen, and increase those linked to geochemical processes, such as phosphorus, in arid areas around the globe. This increase will favor a decrease in vegetation cover, and therefore carbon and nitrogen entry into ecosystems, while it will enhance processes such as rock weathering, increasing the amount of phosphorus available in the system.
Changes in the relative importance of biological and geochemical processes on the availability of the essential elements for life had been previously observed , but have always been associated with changes that usually take thousands or millions of years to occur. However, this work 'is the first to explicitly assess the relationship between aridity and imbalances in the cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus under natural conditions on a global scale, and the results provide valuable information about the changes that may occur in the coming decades due to the climate change that our planet is undergoing', says one of the authors, Professor Delgado Baquerizo.
Climatic factors such as aridity are vital in arid areas, because water is the main limiting factor for biological activity in these ecosystems. Drylands have great importance worldwide as they cover 41% of the land surface and host about 38% of the human population. 'Our results suggest that the increase in aridity predicted for the end of XXI century will not only decrease the amount of water available in these ecosystems, but will also cause disruptions in the availability of essential elements for life. This will mena a change in rules for survival of microorganisms and plants in the near future, and may affect both the diversity of plants and microorganisms in these ecosystems and the various biological processes that determine the functions that they provide', says Delgado Baquerizo .
Field sampling consisted of a direct observation of 224 natural ecosystems scattered over 16 countries on all continents except Antarctica, and has been completed with a careful examination of more than 2600 soil samples in the laboratories of Rey Juan Carlos, Pablo de Olavide and Jaen Universities. Researchers have analyzed various available and total forms of life essential elements for life such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.
'This work highlights the need to assess the impact of disruptions caused by climate change on basic ecological functions such as primary production globally. For example, a decrease in the availability of nitrogen in the environment could decrease Rubisco  production , the enzyme responsible for photosynthesis, reducing the capacity of drylands as sinks for carbon, coming from human activities such as fossil fuels burning', Dr. Quero explains.
The publication of this study is the culmination of six years of research, and the collective effort of more than 60 researchers from 30 institutions in 16 different countries, which has been coordinated by Dr. Fernando Tomás Maestre, director of the European project ' BIOCOM ' and Professor of ecology at URJC. All this work has been carried out thanks to funding from numerous public agencies and private foundations in different countrie , among which is the BIOCOM project, funded by the European Research Council. 'Without the human and technical resources and the material provided by a project like BIOCOM, it would have been impossible to perform work at this scale. Furthermore, collaboration between the different Spanish and international groups has been key to the success of this study', says Maestre.

An international team of researchers led by the Rey Juan Carlos University (URJC, Madrid), among which are researchers of the Agrifood Campus of International Excellence ceiA3 at the University of Córdoba, has provided further evidence of the lethal effects of climate change through a new empirical study in the prestigious journal Nature.

Results from this study suggest that factors associated with climate change, such as increased aridity will cause disruptions in the cycles of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus, vital to the development of life. 


The work has been published today in the prestigious journal Nature and is etitled 'Decoupling of nutrient cycles as a function of overall aridity in dryland soils'.  This work was led by Manuel Delgado Baquerizo, post -doctoral researcher at the Rey Juan Carlos University and researcher José Luis Quero, from the Forestry Engineering Department of School of Agriculturaland Forestry Engineering (ETSIAM).


The results of this study indicate that increased aridity resulting from climate change will result in decrease in abundance of nutrients primarily linked to biological processes, such as carbon and nitrogen, and in increase of nutrients linked to geochemical processes, such as phosphorus, in arid areas around the globe. This increase will favor a decrease in vegetation cover and, therefore, carbon and nitrogen entry into ecosystems, while it will enhance processes such as rock weathering, resulting in the increase of amount of phosphorus available in the system.

The importance of biological and geochemical processes for availability of life essential elements had been previously observed but were always associated with changes that take thousands or millions of years to occur. However, this work 'is the first to explicitly assess the relationship between aridity and imbalances in carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles under natural conditions on a global scale, and the results provide valuable information about changes that may occur in the coming decades due to the climate change in our planet', says one of the authors, Professor Delgado Baquerizo.

Climatic factors such as aridity are vital in arid areas, because water is the main limiting factor for biological activity in these ecosystems. Drylands have great importance worldwide as they cover 41% of land surface and host about 38% of the human population. 'Our results suggest that the increase in aridity predicted for the end of the XXI century will not only decrease the amount of water available in these ecosystems, but will also cause disruptions in availability of life essential elements. This will mean a change in survival rules for microorganisms and plants in the near future and may affect plant and microorganism diversity and biological functions in these ecosystems', says Delgado Baquerizo .


Field sampling consisted of a direct observation of 224 natural ecosystems scattered over 16 countries on all continents except Antarctica and has been completed with a careful examination of more than 2600 soil samples in the laboratories of Rey Juan Carlos, Pablo de Olavide and Jaen Universities. Researchers have analyzed various available and total forms of life essential elements such as carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus.

'This work highlights the need to globally assess the impact of disruptions caused by climate change on basic ecological functions such as primary production. For example, a decrease in nitrogen availability in the environment could decrease Rubisco production, the enzyme responsible for photosynthesis, reducing the capacity of drylands as sinks for carbon derived from human activities such as fossil fuel burning', Dr. Quero explains.


The publication of this study is the culmination of six years of research and the collective effort of more than 60 researchers from 30 institutions in 16 different countries, which has been coordinated by Dr. Fernando Tomás Maestre, director of the European project ' BIOCOM ' and Professor of ecology at URJC. All this work has been carried out thanks to funding from numerous public agencies and private foundations in different countries, among which is the BIOCOM project, funded by the European Research Council. 'Without the human and technical resources and the material provided by a project like BIOCOM, it would have been impossible to perform work at this scale. Furthermore, collaboration between the different Spanish and international groups has been key to the success of this study', says Maestre.

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