Biogeosciences Discuss., 4, 2007-2025, 2007
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This discussion paper has been under review for the journal Biogeosciences (BG). Please refer to the corresponding final paper in BG.
Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration is dependent on readily decomposable C substrate concentration
A. A. Larionova, I. V. Yevdokimov, and S. S. Bykhovets
Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, RAS, 142290, Institutskaya 2, Pushchino, Moscow region, Russia

Abstract. Temperature acclimation of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition is one of the major uncertainties in predicting soil CO2 efflux by the increase in global mean temperature. A reasonable explanation for an apparent acclimation proposed by Davidson and colleagues (2006) based on Michaelis-Menten kinetics suggests that temperature sensitivity decreases when both maximal activity of respiratory enzymes (Vmax) and half- saturation constant (Ks) cancel each other upon temperature increase. We tested the hypothesis of the canceling effect by the mathematical simulation of the data obtained in the incubation experiments with forest and arable soils. Our data confirm the hypothesis and suggest that concentration of readily decomposable C substrate as glucose equivalent is an important factor controlling temperature sensitivity. The highest temperature sensitivity was observed when C substrate concentration was much lower than Ks. Increase of substrate content to the half-saturation constant resulted in temperature acclimation associated with the canceling effect. Addition of the substrate to the level providing respiration at a maximal rate Vmax leads to the acclimation of the whole microbial community as such. However, growing microbial biomass was more sensitive to the temperature alterations. This study improves our understanding of the instability of temperature sensitivity of soil respiration under field conditions, explaining this phenomenon by changes in concentration of readily decomposable C substrate. It is worth noting that this pattern works regardless of the origin of C substrate: production by SOM decomposition, release into the soil by rhizodeposition, litter fall or drying-rewetting events.

Citation: Larionova, A. A., Yevdokimov, I. V., and Bykhovets, S. S.: Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration is dependent on readily decomposable C substrate concentration, Biogeosciences Discuss., 4, 2007-2025, doi:10.5194/bgd-4-2007-2007, 2007.
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