December 14, 2018
Global Drylands Center director Osvaldo Sala is part of a research team that recently garnered funding from the Australian Research Council. The project, entitled “Biogeochemical mismatches: Decoupling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles during drought,” is led by researcher Uffe Nielsen, a colleague of Sala Lab based at Western Sydney University.
Drought modifies carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles with implications for plant growth and productivity. Biogeochemical decoupling occurs during drought due to differential impacts of water availability on these nutrients, resulting in an imbalanced nutrient supply for plants. The aim of this project is to identify the tipping points where drought causes biogeochemical decoupling and determine the underlying biological mechanisms. To date, no systematic approach to generalizing shifts in C, N and P due to drought impacts across aridity gradients exists.
This research will be conducted across Australia and North America to further understanding of drought effects on ecosystem processes. Sala said he is excited to be a part of the team and congratulated Nielsen for landing the funding.
Figure from Wardle, D.A. 2013. Drivers of decoupling in drylands. Nature 502: 628-629.