Articles | Volume 20, issue 10
Ideas and perspectives
30 May 2023
Ideas and perspectives |  | 30 May 2023

Ideas and perspectives: Alleviation of functional limitations by soil organisms is key to climate feedbacks from arctic soils

Gesche Blume-Werry, Jonatan Klaminder, Eveline J. Krab, and Sylvain Monteux

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Cited articles

Addison, J. A. and Parkinson, D.: Influence of Collembolan Feeding Activities on Soil Metabolism at a High Arctic Site, Oikos, 30, 529–538,, 1978. 
Aerts, R.: The freezer defrosting: global warming and litter decomposition rates in cold biomes, J. Ecol., 94, 713–724,, 2006. 
Bastida, F., Eldridge, D. J., Abades, S., Alfaro, F. D., Gallardo, A., García-Velázquez, L., García, C., Hart, S. C., Pérez, C. A., Santos, F., Trivedi, P., Williams, M. A., and Delgado-Baquerizo, M.: Climatic vulnerabilities and ecological preferences of soil invertebrates across biomes, Mol. Ecol., 29, 752–761,, 2020. 
Beare, M. H., Parmelee, R. W., Hendrix, P. F., Cheng, W., Coleman, D. C., and Crossley, D. A.: Microbial and Faunal Interactions and Effects on Litter Nitrogen and Decomposition in Agroecosystems, Ecol. Monogr., 62, 569–591,, 1992. 
Blume-Werry, G., Milbau, A., Teuber, L. M., Johansson, M., and Dorrepaal, E.: Dwelling in the deep – strongly increased root growth and rooting depth enhance plant interactions with thawing permafrost soil, New Phytol., 223, 1328–1339,, 2019. 
Short summary
Northern soils store a lot of carbon. Most research has focused on how this carbon storage is regulated by cold temperatures. However, it is soil organisms, from minute bacteria to large earthworms, that decompose the organic material. Novel soil organisms from further south could increase decomposition rates more than climate change does and lead to carbon losses. We therefore advocate for including soil organisms when predicting the fate of soil functions in warming northern ecosystems.
Final-revised paper