Fungi and bacteria comprise more than 90% of the soil microbial biomass and are the main agents for decomposition of organic matter in soil. There is increasing evidence that if decomposition is performed by bacteria or fungi, and thus energy is channeled through the bacterial or fungal food web, this can have profound effects on the ecosystem.
One of the most important environmental factors affecting the function of the decomposer organisms is temperature. To what extent and how rapid soil microorganisms adapt to an altered temperature will not only be of basic interest in soil microbiology, but also be of importance in predicting effects on soil carbon sequestration within a future increased global temperature scenario.
To investigate temperature effects on fungi and bacteria I measure bacterial and fungal growth in natural habitats by using the leucine incorporation technique and the acetate-in-ergosterol incorporation technique. Applying the leucine incorporation in combination with the acetate-in-ergosterol incorporation allow me to assess the growth of bacterial and fungal growth separately, thereby allowing me to determine their contributions to the decomposition process.
I am also part of the work package 1 of the Center for Studies of Carbon Cycle and Climate Interactions (LUCCI) where we are aiming at understanding today´s carbon cycle and its interactions with the climate system and ecosystems.