Articles | Volume 9, issue 3
Biogeosciences, 9, 1173–1182, 2012
Biogeosciences, 9, 1173–1182, 2012

Research article 28 Mar 2012

Research article | 28 Mar 2012

The moisture response of soil heterotrophic respiration: interaction with soil properties

F. E. Moyano1, N. Vasilyeva1, L. Bouckaert2, F. Cook3, J. Craine4, J. Curiel Yuste5, A. Don6, D. Epron7, P. Formanek8, A. Franzluebbers9, U. Ilstedt10, T. Kätterer11, V. Orchard12, M. Reichstein13, A. Rey5, L. Ruamps1, J.-A. Subke14, I. K. Thomsen15, and C. Chenu1 F. E. Moyano et al.
  • 1CNRS-UPMC-AgroParisTech, UMR Bioemco 7618, 78850 Thiverval-Grignon, France
  • 2Department of soil management and soil care, Ghent University, Ghent, Coupure Links 653, Belgium
  • 3Environmental Physicist/Director, Freeman Cook & Associates, Pty Ltd, P.O. Box 948, Mt Ommaney Q4074, Australia
  • 4Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan KS 66506-4901, USA
  • 5Museo Nacional de Ciencias Naturales CSIC, Serrano 115 dpdo, 28006 Madrid, Spain
  • 6Johann Heinrich von Thünen-Institut, Institut für Agrarrelevante Klimaforschung, Bundesallee 50, 38116 Braunschweig, Germany
  • 7Nancy-Université, UMR Ecologie et Ecophysiologie Forestières, 54506 Vandoeuvre Les Nancy, France
  • 8Mendel University Brno, Department of Geology and Soil Science, Zemedelska 3, 613 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • 9USDA – Agricultural Research Service, 1420 Experiment Station Road, Watkinsville GA 30677, USA
  • 10Department of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU, SE-901 83 Umeå, USA
  • 11Professor, SLU, Dept. Soil and Environment, P.O. Box 7014, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
  • 12Strategic Manager, Science and Research, ESR, New Zealand
  • 13Biogeochemical Model-Data Integration Group, Max-Planck Insititute for Biogeochemistry, 07701 Jena, Germany
  • 14University of Stirling, School of Natural Sciences, Biological and Environmental Sciences, Stirling FK9 4LA, Scotland, UK
  • 15Department of Agroecology, Organic Matter, Blichers Allé 20, 8830, Tjele, Denmark

Abstract. Soil moisture is of primary importance for predicting the evolution of soil carbon stocks and fluxes, both because it strongly controls organic matter decomposition and because it is predicted to change at global scales in the following decades. However, the soil functions used to model the heterotrophic respiration response to moisture have limited empirical support and introduce an uncertainty of at least 4% in global soil carbon stock predictions by 2100. The necessity of improving the representation of this relationship in models has been highlighted in recent studies. Here we present a data-driven analysis of soil moisture-respiration relations based on 90 soils. With the use of linear models we show how the relationship between soil heterotrophic respiration and different measures of soil moisture is consistently affected by soil properties. The empirical models derived include main effects and moisture interaction effects of soil texture, organic carbon content and bulk density. When compared to other functions currently used in different soil biogeochemical models, we observe that our results can correct biases and reconcile differences within and between such functions. Ultimately, accurate predictions of the response of soil carbon to future climate scenarios will require the integration of soil-dependent moisture-respiration functions coupled with realistic representations of soil water dynamics.

Final-revised paper