Microbial mediation of carbon-cycle feedbacks to climate warming

Jizhong Zhou, Kai Xue, Jianping Xie, Ye Deng, Liyou Wu, Xiaoli Cheng, Shenfeng Fei, Shiping Deng, Zhili He, Joy D. Van Nostrand, Yiqi Luo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

473 Scopus citations


Understanding the mechanisms of biospheric feedbacks to climate change is critical to project future climate warming. Although microorganisms catalyse most biosphere processes related to fluxes of greenhouse gases, little is known about the microbial role in regulating future climate change. Integrated metagenomic and functional analyses of a long-term warming experiment in a grassland ecosystem showed that microorganisms play crucial roles in regulating soil carbon dynamics through three primary feedback mechanisms: shifting microbial community composition, which most likely led to the reduced temperature sensitivity of heterotrophic soil respiration; differentially stimulating genes for degrading labile but not recalcitrant carbon so as to maintain long-term soil carbon stability and storage; and enhancing nutrient-cycling processes to promote plant nutrient-use efficiency and hence plant growth. Elucidating microbially mediated feedbacks is fundamental to understanding ecosystem responses to climate warming and provides a mechanistic basis for carbon-climate modelling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)106-110
Number of pages5
JournalNature Climate Change
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Microbial mediation of carbon-cycle feedbacks to climate warming'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this