Modeling the Response of Soil Organic Matter Decomposition to Warming: Effects of Dynamical Enzyme Productivity and Nuanced Representation of Respiration.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Debjani Sihi1, Stefan Gerber2, Kanika Sharma Inglett3 and Patrick Inglett3, (1)University of Florida, Ft Walton Beach, FL, United States, (2)University of Florida IFAS, Gainesville, FL, United States, (3)University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, United States
Recent development in modeling soil organic carbon (SOC) decomposition includes the explicit incorporation of enzyme and microbial dynamics. A characteristic of these models is a feedback between substrate and consumers which is absent in traditional first order decay models. Second, microbial decomposition models incorporate carbon use efficiency (CUE) as a function of temperature which proved to be critical to prediction of SOC with warming. Our main goal is to explore microbial decomposition models with respect to responses of microbes to enzyme activity, costs to enzyme production, and to incorporation of growth vs. maintenance respiration. In order to simplify the modeling setup we assumed quick adjustment of enzyme activity and depolymerized carbon to microbial and SOC pools. Enzyme activity plays an important role to decomposition if its production is scaled to microbial biomass. In fact if microbes are allowed to optimize enzyme productivity the microbial enzyme model becomes unstable. Thus if the assumption of enzyme productivity is relaxed, other limiting factors must come into play. To stabilize the model, we account for two feedbacks that include cost of enzyme production and diminishing return of depolymerization with increasing enzyme concentration and activity. These feedback mechanisms caused the model to behave in a similar way to traditional, first order decay models. Most importantly, we found, that under warming, the changes in SOC carbon were more severe in enzyme synthesis is costly. In turn, carbon use efficiency (CUE) and its dynamical response to temperature is mainly determined by 1) the rate of turnover of microbes 2) the partitioning of dead microbial matter into different quality pools, and 3) and whether growth, maintenance respiration and microbial death rate have distinct responses to changes in temperature.

Abbreviations: p: decay of enzyme, g: coefficient for growth respiration, : fraction of material from microbial turnover that enters the DOC pool, loss of C scaled to microbial mass, half saturation constant.