Externally funded project

Effects of water content, input of roots and dissolved organic matter and spatial inaccessibility on C turnover & determination of the spatial variability of subsoil properties (Teilprojekt der Forschergruppe FOR 1806: Der vergessene Teil des Kohlenstoffkreislaufs: Lagerung und Umsatz des organischen Materials im Unterboden)

Project Details
Project duration: 06/20132016


It is well established that reduced supply of fresh organic matter, interactions of organic matter with mineral phases and spatial inaccessibility affect C stocks in subsoils. However, quantitative information required for a better understanding of the contribution of each of the different processes to C sequestration in subsoils and for improvements of subsoil C models is scarce. The same is true for the main controlling factors of the decomposition rates of soil organic matter in subsoils. Moreover, information on spatial variabilities of different properties in the subsoil is rare. The few studies available which couple near and middle infrared spectroscopy (NIRS/MIRS) with geostatistical approaches indicate a potential for the creation of spatial maps which may show hot spots with increased biological activities in the soil profile and their effects on the distribution of C contents. Objectives are (i) to determine the mean residence time of subsoil C in different fractions by applying fractionation procedures in combination with 14C measurements; (ii) to study the effects of water content, input of 13C-labelled roots and dissolved organic matter and spatial inaccessibility on C turnover in an automatic microcosm system; (iii) to determine general soil properties and soil biological and chemical characteristics using NIRS and MIRS, and (iv) to extrapolate the measured and estimated soil properties to the vertical profiles by using different spatial interpolation techniques. For the NIRS/MIRS applications, sample pretreatment (air-dried vs. freeze-dried samples) and calibration procedures (a modified partial least square (MPLS) approach vs. a genetic algorithm coupled with MPLS or PLS) will be optimized. We hypothesize that the combined application of chemical fractionation in combination with 14C measurements and the results of the incubation experiments will give the pool sizes of passive, intermediate, labile and very labile C and N and the mean residence times of labile and very labile C and N. These results will make it possible to initialize the new quantitative model to be developed by subproject PC. Additionally, we hypothesize that the sample pretreatment “freeze-drying” will be more useful for the estimation of soil biological characteristics than air-drying. The GA-MPLS and GA-PLS approaches are expected to give better estimates of the soil characteristics than the MPLS and PLS approaches. The spatial maps for the different subsoil characteristics in combination with the spatial maps of temperature and water contents will presumably enable us to explain the spatial heterogeneity of C contents.

Last updated on 2018-14-11 at 16:04