Soil microorganisms play a key role in terrestrial ecosystem functioning, such as controlling soil biogeochemical processes. Soil microbial growth and activity are expected to be controlled by many environmental factors including nutrients. It is known that climate change has modified plant composition in the Arctic (arctic greening), yet how climate change will affect soil microorganisms is not very clear. Hence, my PhD project focus on limiting factors for soil microbial growth and microbial response to climate change.
I am interested in 1) determining limiting factors for soil microbial growth in different ecosystems, and how nutrient limitation affects soil recourse use efficiency. 2)understanding how soil microorganisms control soil biogeochemical processes, and plant-microbial interactions in rhizosphere responding to climate change.
My PhD research combines field work (eg, in northern Sweden) with subsequent experiments in the laboratory. Litter and fertilisation are added in field plots to stimulate environmental changes, and short-term vs long-term environmental control of microbial community processes will be resolved in reciprocal transplant experiment along natural fertility gradients. I will also investigate distribution and the dynamics of soil microbial activity in the rhizosphere. Methods I will use include stable isotope tracing of 15N and 13C, radiotracer tracing to estimate fungal and bacterial growth, Zymography. etc.