Discipline: Biological Sciences
Dulce Saenz - Beloit College
Co-Author(s): Luke Zimmerman, Beloit College, WI
Microbial communities play an essential role in the soil carbon cycle. In the process of decomposing of organic matter, microbes produce CO2, a greenhouse gas, as a by-product. Soil microbial community function may impact whether soils are sinks or sources of CO2, potentially impacting the magnitude of climate change. I studied carbon cycling and microbial community composition in turf and native soil ecosystems along the Rock River in Beloit, WI, where restoration of native plants was recently done to prevent erosion. I hypothesized that the native soil would have greater CO2 respiration than the grass soil. Replicate soil cores in the grass and native sites were taken and geochemical analyses, including soil moisture, water holding capacity, soil organic matter content, and pH, were done. I also measured soil CO2 respiration over the course of five days. Geochemical properties of soil were not significantly different between the two treatments, but respiration did differ significantly. The turf soil respired more CO2 than the native soil, which may indicate that carbon is more accessible to microbial communities in the turf soil than in the native soil. To further explore my results I am planning to conduct extended periods of CO2 measurement and characterize the microbial community in both sites through PCR and DNA sequencing.Not Submitted
Funder Acknowledgement(s): Summer Science Scholars Program at Beloit College.
Faculty Advisor: Chantal Koechli, firstname.lastname@example.org
Role: I did all lab work and data analysis in my research. The lab work consisted of obtaining samples from sampling sites, conducting respiration test, soil geochemical tests, and biological tests. Analysis work consisted of making standard curves from respiration data and analyzing soil geochemical and biological tests. My research advisor came up with the project.