Soil microbial community dynamics
As well as storing vast amounts of carbon, soils provide many ‘services’ that rely on processes where organic matter is transformed and largest agent of soil ecosystem services is the soil microbial community (SOM). Small molecule and/or stable isotopic approaches enable the composition and functional activity of SOM to be characterised and, importantly, quantified thereby enabling fundamental molecular processes (e.g. methane oxidation, nitrate uptake, environmental response changes) to be studied in depth. Understanding how compounds behave in complex ecosystems such as soil, is vital if we are to develop models to help inform land management and agricultural practices.
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