Submitted to: ASA-CSSA-SSSA Annual Meeting Abstracts
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/21/2012
Publication Date: 10/25/2012
Citation: Acosta Martinez, V. 2012. Methods to Link Microorganisms to Their Ecosytem Services[abstract]. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science Society of America. October 21-25, 2012. Cincinnati, OH. Paper No. 274-2.
Technical Abstract: The rapidly growing population and climate changes impose challenges to our food and energy security, fiber demand and soil quality in the 21st Century. Expansion of our understanding of the soil microbiome, especially under agroecosystems, is crucial to establish linkages of microbial species assemblages associated to soil ecosystem services. Manipulation of soil microbial communities for obtaining specific ecosystem services has been envisioned within soil conservation efforts. This talk will discuss research over 10 years in low organic matter soils, elucidating the role of microbial communities and their enzymes on biogeochemical cycling and soil organic matter dynamics. Low organic matter content (< 1%) soils, assumed to contain lower microbial diversity compared to soils from humid regions, could serve as a good platform to begin linking microbial community shifts associated to changes in soil biogeochemical cycling due to management. This research has been conducted in the Texas Southern High Plains region in which low organic matter soils have been under continuous monoculture (i.e., cotton) for more than 50 years with alternative management including the integration of livestock into cropping systems and use of forage sorghum for biofuel cropping initiatives. Microbial community composition has been evaluated coupling fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) and new molecular throughput techniques like pyrosequencing. The assessment of several enzyme activities involved in C, N, P and S cycling has been used to address soil biogeochemical cycling. In addition, our research has included measurement of enzyme activities and pyrosequencing characterization of fungal, bacteria and archae species assemblages during the historical drought conditions experienced in 2011, which could provide unique insights into the microbial species assemblages contributing to biogeochemical cycling under extreme climatic conditions.