Impacts of Rising Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide on Model Terrestrial Ecosystems

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Science  17 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5362, pp. 441-443
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5362.441

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In model terrestrial ecosystems maintained for three plant generations at elevated concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, increases in photosynthetically fixed carbon were allocated below ground, raising concentrations of dissolved organic carbon in soil. These effects were then transmitted up the decomposer food chain. Soil microbial biomass was unaffected, but the composition of soil fungal species changed, with increases in rates of cellulose decomposition. There were also changes in the abundance and species composition of Collembola, fungal-feeding arthropods. These results have implications for long-term feedback processes in soil ecosystems that are subject to rising global atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: t.h.jones{at}

  • Present address: GSF National Research Centre for Environment and Health, Institute of Soil Ecology, Ingolstädter Landstraβe 1, D-85764 Neuherberg, Germany.

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