A Microbial-Explicit Soil Organic Carbon Decomposition Model (MESDM): Development and Testing at a Semiarid Grassland Site
AffiliationSchool of Geography, Development and Environment, University of Arizona
Biosphere 2, University of Arizona
Department of Hydrology and Water Resources, University of Arizona
land surface model
soil heterotrophic respiration
soil organic carbon decomposition
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherJohn Wiley and Sons Inc
CitationZhang, X., Xie, Z., Ma, Z., Barron-Gafford, G. A., Scott, R. L., & Niu, G.-Y. (2022). A Microbial-Explicit Soil Organic Carbon Decomposition Model (MESDM): Development and Testing at a Semiarid Grassland Site. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems.
RightsCopyright © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.
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AbstractExplicit representations of microbial processes in soil organic carbon (SOC) decomposition models have received increasing attention, because soil heterotrophic respiration remains one of the greatest uncertainties in climate-carbon feedbacks projected by Earth system models (ESMs). Microbial-explicit models have been developed and applied in site- and global-scale studies. These models, however, lack the ability to represent microbial respiration responses to drying-wetting cycles, and few of them have been incorporated in land surface models (LSMs) and validated against field observations. In this study, we developed a multi-layer, microbial-explicit soil organic carbon decomposition model (MESDM), based on two main assumptions that (a) extracellular enzymes remain active at dry reaction microsites, and (b) microbes at wet microsites are active or potentially active, while microbes at the dry microsites are dormant, by dividing the soil volume into wet and dry zones. MESDM with O2 and CO2 gas transport models was coupled with Noah-MP LSM and tested against half-hourly field observations at a semiarid grassland site in the southwest US characterized by pulsed precipitation. The results show MESDM can reproduce the observed soil respiration pulses of various sizes in response to discrete precipitation events (Birch effect) and thus improve the simulation of net ecosystem exchange. Here, both microbial accessibility to accumulated dissolved organic carbon and reactivation of dormant microbes at the dry microsites upon rewetting are critical to reproducing the Birch effect. This study improves our understanding of and ability to simulate complex soil carbon dynamics that experience drying-wetting cycle in climate-carbon feedbacks. © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.
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Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Copyright © 2022 The Authors. Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.