Metamicrobiome-driven homeostasis of nutrient recycling

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Inger de Jonge, Michiel Veldhuis, J. Hans C. Cornelissen, Matty Berg, Han Olff


Carbon and nutrient recycling by free-living microbial decomposers and fire - two key recycling pathways - are highly sensitive to climatic variation. However, mutualistic associations of microbiomes with plants and animals cause previously underestimated environmental buffering effects. This close cooperation between small and large organisms solves a fundamental allometric trade-off between mass-specific metabolic capacity (decreasing with body size) and homeostatic capacity (environmental buffering; increasing with body size), allowing the combination of the best of both worlds along the body mass spectrum from microbes to elephants. A diverse metamicrobiome, where plant- and animal-associated microbiomes complement the free-living microbiome, consequently increases ecosystem homeostasis of recycling rates in a variable environment. We argue for better integration of this fundamental ecological process in predicting the consequences of current accelerated environmental change.



Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Life Sciences, Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology


biogeochemistry, global change, homeostatic capacity, Microbiome, nutrient cycling


Published: 2022-09-08 17:57


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