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Project 1 (phase II):

Fire-Induced Redistribution and Losses of Elements in the Weathering Zone

 

Investigator Names and Contact Info:

  • Anna Gorbushina (Microbiology). Freie Universität Berlin & Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfing (BAM), Germany
  • Michaela Dippold (Soil Biogeochemistry). Agricultural Soil Science, Georg-August-University Goettingen, Germany

 

Chilean Collaborators Involved:

  • Francisco J. Matus B. (Biogeochemistry / Nutrient cycles). Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco, Chile
  • Carolina Merino (Biogeochemistry, Microbiology, Enzymology). Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco, Chile
  • Roberto Godoy (Biology, Chemistry). Instituto de Ciencias Ambientales & Evolutivas, Universidad Austral de Chile, Valdivia, Chile
  • Rómulo Oses (Microbial Ecology / Environmental Microbiology). Center of Advanced Studies in Arid Zones (CEAZA) & CRIDESAT - University of Atacama

 


Postdoc:

Fire-Induced Redistribution and Losses of Elements in the Weathering Zone (FIRE).
host: Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und -prüfung (BAM), Berlin

supervisor: Prof. Anna Gorbushina, co-supervisor: Prof. Michaela Dippold

 

supervisor: Prof. Anna Gorbushina, co-supervisor: jun. Prof. Michaela Dippold

PhD:

Fire-Induced Redistribution and Losses of Elements in the Weathering Zone (FIRE).

supervisor: jun. Prof. Michaela Dippold, co-supervisor: Prof. Anna Gorbushina

 

Chilean PhD:

Mass balance analysis assessment using immobile elements method in soils from National Park Nahuelbuta.

supervisors: M. Dippold, F. Matus

 

MSc:

Reconstruction of fire history from black carbon in soils of mediterranean ecosystem using pyrogenic molecular markers such as Benzene Carboxylic Acids (BPCA's) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH's).

  • Vamsi Golla. University of Göttingen, Germany

supervisor: jun. Prof. Michaela Dippold, co-supervisor: Prof. Anna Gorbushina

MSc:

Reconstruction of fire history from black carbon in temperate rain forest soils using pyrogenic molecular markers such as Benzene Carboxylic Acids (BPCA's) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH's).

  • Bandana Rai. University of Göttingen, Germany

supervisor: jun. Prof. Michaela Dippold, co-supervisor: Prof. Anna Gorbushina

 

MSc:

Post-fire nutrient dynamics in mediterranean and humid-temperate forest ecosystems in Chile.

  • Johannes Geißner. University of Göttingen, Germany

supervisor: jun. Prof. Michaela Dippold, co-supervisor: Dr. Matthias Gube

 

MSc:

Fire events and their impact on vegetation development and nutrient stocks - on example of the National Parks of La Campana and Nahuelbuta, Chile.

  • Johannes Wuensch. University of Göttingen, Germany

supervisor: jun. Prof. Michaela Dippold, co-supervisor: Prof. Anna Gorbushina

 

 

Project summary:

Fire is one of the most important geomorphological factors – an extreme event leading to huge changes of the element speciation and subsequent losses of nutrients and ballast elements from ecosystems during a very short period. Frequent fires in (semi)arid, Mediterranean and forest ecosystems induce dramatic reallocation of all elements that microorganisms mobilized and vegetation uplifted from the saprolite. In the 1st phase – microbial (mainly fungal) mobilization of elements by root carbon input into the soil and uptake of nutrients by plants from the soil and saprolite were investigated. In the 2nd phase the losses of these elements by and after fires will be investigated in parallel with the effects on microbial communities and functions. Based on available nutrient and ballast element contents in soils (i) after artificial burning and (ii) chronosequences of ecosystems recovering after natural fires, we will conclude about the element losses over short- and medium-term. These losses will be partitioned for leaching and erosion based on the experiments with tracers for N, K, Ca and Si. The fatal effects of fire on microbial communities and functions will be traced through abundance of symbiotic and saprotrophic fungal phyla and diazotrophic organisms, enzyme activities and PLFA composition in the topsoil. Microbial succession during after-fire-recovery will be studied with a special accent on stress-tolerant and mineral-weathering fungi. The functional role of fungi and bacteria will be supported by comparisons of qPCR analysis to high throughput sequencing data. Special focus will be given to fungi as under aerobic conditions on rock surfaces and at the root/soil interfaces, fungi are of particular importance: Stress-protected fungal cells (i) form extensive contacts with minerals and enhance chemical release of nutrients from minerals and (ii) accelerate the recolonization of soils after fire. Succession of microbial communities over short- and medium-term will be related to the increase of enzyme activities, PLFA composition, nutrient mobilization and accumulation in the topsoil. The aridity gradient from Pan de Azucar to Nahuelbuta will elucidate the effects of precipitation on absolute and relative losses of nutrients and ballast elements after fire as well as on ecosystem recovery.

Results of the 1st phase will be used to generalize the nutrient cycling and input by weathering under steady state – in the stable ecosystems depending on climate. The results of the 2nd phase will allow generali-zation of the dramatic effects of the extreme event – fire – on the losses of the elements and their subsequent accumulation by weathering in recovering ecosystems during microbial and vegetation succession.


Fig: Graphical Abstract of Work Program

Considering the worldwide increasing aridization and consequently the fire frequencies, the expected prediction of losses of nutrients and ballast elements from ecosystems and subsequent weathering possess a global relevance.