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Carbon fixed by plants and phytoplankton through photosynthesis is ultimately stored in soils and sediments or released to the atmosphere during decomposition of dead biomass. Carbon-use efficiency is a useful metric to quantify the fate of carbon – higher efficiency means higher storage and lower release to the atmosphere. Here we summarize many definitions of carbon-use efficiency and study how this metric changes from organisms to ecosystems and from terrestrial to aquatic environments.
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BG | Articles | Volume 15, issue 19
Biogeosciences, 15, 5929–5949, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-5929-2018
Biogeosciences, 15, 5929–5949, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-15-5929-2018

Reviews and syntheses 09 Oct 2018

Reviews and syntheses | 09 Oct 2018

Reviews and syntheses: Carbon use efficiency from organisms to ecosystems – definitions, theories, and empirical evidence

Stefano Manzoni et al.

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Alin, S. R. and Johnson, T. C.: Carbon cycling in large lakes of the world: A synthesis of production, burial, and lake-atmosphere exchange estimates, Global Biogeochem. Cy., 21, GB3002, https://doi.org/10.1029/2006gb002881, 2007. 
Allison, S. D.: Modeling adaptation of carbon use efficiency in microbial communities, Front. Microbiol., 5, 1–9, https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2014.00571, 2014. 
Allison, S. D., Wallenstein, M. D., and Bradford, M. A.: Soil-carbon response to warming dependent on microbial physiology, Nat. Geosci., 3, 336–340, 2010. 
Anderson, T. R., Hessen, D. O., Elser, J. J., and Urabe, J.: Metabolic stoichiometry and the fate of excess carbon and nutrients in consumers, Am. Nat., 165, 1–15, 2005. 
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Short summary
Carbon fixed by plants and phytoplankton through photosynthesis is ultimately stored in soils and sediments or released to the atmosphere during decomposition of dead biomass. Carbon-use efficiency is a useful metric to quantify the fate of carbon – higher efficiency means higher storage and lower release to the atmosphere. Here we summarize many definitions of carbon-use efficiency and study how this metric changes from organisms to ecosystems and from terrestrial to aquatic environments.
Citation
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Final-revised paper
Preprint