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Invariant soil water potential at zero microbial respiration explained by hydrological discontinuity in dry soils
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology.
2014 (English)In: Geophysical Research Letters, ISSN 0094-8276, Vol. 41, no 20, 7151-7158 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Soil microbial respiration rates decrease with soil drying, ceasing below water potentials around -15MPa. A proposed mechanism for this pattern is that under dry conditions, microbes are substrate limited because solute diffusivity is halted due to breaking of water film continuity. However, pore connectivity estimated from hydraulic conductivity and solute diffusivity (at Darcy's scale) is typically interrupted at much less negative water potentials than microbial respiration (-0.1 to -1MPa). It is hypothesized here that the more negative respiration thresholds than at the Darcy's scale emerge because microbial activity is restricted to microscale soil patches that retain some hydrological connectivity even when it is lost at the macroscale. This hypothesis is explored using results from percolation theory and meta-analyses of respiration-water potential curves and hydrological percolation points. When reducing the spatial scale from macroscale to microscale, hydrological and respiration thresholds become consistent, supporting the proposed hypothesis.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 41, no 20, 7151-7158 p.
Keyword [en]
percolation theory, microbial water stress, soil respiration, upscaling, drought, soil moisture
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-111937DOI: 10.1002/2014GL061467ISI: 000345343100022OAI: diva2:777111


Available from: 2015-01-08 Created: 2015-01-08 Last updated: 2015-01-08Bibliographically approved

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Manzoni, Stefano
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