Soil Carbon and Nitrogen Mineralization with Flexible Soil and Microbial C:N Ratios

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Gangsheng Wang1, Melanie A Mayes2, Peter E Thornton1 and Forrest M Hoffman3, (1)Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (2)ORNL, Oak Ridge, TN, United States, (3)University of California Irvine, Department of Earth System Science, Irvine, CA, United States
Microbial assimilation of C-N and the physicochemical protection of soil organic matter (SOM) play fundamental roles in regulating land-atmosphere interactions. However, these microbial and physicochemical processes are not explicitly represented in current region/global terrestrial ecosystem models, e.g., the Community Land Model (CLM). The lack of explicit representation of microbial pools and functions results in unrealistic fixed-C:N ratios in SOM pools currently in CLM. Thus current soil C-N model configuration is inadequate to model the effects of litter inputs or fertilization on soil carbon and nitrogen mineralization and linkages between plant litter C:N ratios and soil or microbial C:N ratios. We propose a coupled C-N model that allows for flexible C:N ratios in microbe and SOM pools and thus the ability to represent the decomposition response to fertilization and/or litter inputs with various C:N ratios. Our preliminary analysis has shown that the C:N ratios in SOM, dissolved organic matter (DOM), and microbial pools can be well constrained by the new C-N model and microbes regulate the C:N ratios in SOM and DOM pools. We will use this new model framework to evaluate the soil carbon and nitrogen mineralization processes under conditions of excess organic C, excess organic N, or limited mineral N.