Stuart Grandy: Adaptive Plant-Microbe-Mineral Networks Provide Multiple Pathways around Nitrogen Limitation
Nitrogen (N) is a critical, often limiting element for plant and microbial productivity in terrestrial ecosystems, especially in agroecosystems. N surplus in both natural and managed systems also lead to N leaching, water quality declines and accelerated trace gas emissions. The soil transformations and bioavailability of N have thus been an intense research focus, with rapid progress in recent years pointing to the importance of plant-microbe-mineral networks (PMMN) in regulating N availability. Here we integrate emerging understanding of soil bioavailable N transformations with progress in understanding PMMN and their regulation of the N cycle. Often `black-boxed? under the N mineralization umbrella, bioavailable N exists in multiple forms and pools strongly influenced by PMMN in the soil matrix. We show that these networks are adaptive and dynamic, providing multiple pathways for nutrient flow. The coalescence of advances in PMMN regulation of bioavailable N supply highlight the need to reconsider simple concepts and measures of nutrient limitation. They also provide fundamental insights into bioavailable N cycling, and entirely new avenues for 'bottom-up', soil-based approaches to solving the N crises under both chronic and acute land-use and climate change stress.
Stuart is an associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources and the Environment here at UNH. His research examines how soil organisms interact with their environment to regulate ecosystem processes such as nutrient cycling, organic matter turnover, trace gas emissions, and productivity. This research encompasses multiple spatial scales and lies at the interface of soil ecology, biogeochemistry, and ecosystem science.
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