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Ecological resilience of soil microbial communities

PhD ceremony:Ms S.D. Jurburg
When:January 23, 2017
Start:14:30
Supervisors:prof. dr. J. (Joana) Falcao Salles, prof. dr. ir. J.D. (Jan Dirk) van Elsas
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:

The thesis of Stephanie Jurburg aims to discover whether ‘resilience’ can be lost from the soil microbial system by multiple disturbances, and provide mechanistic insights as to the processes behind this phenomenon, as well as its implications for the maintenance of terrestrial ecosystem services in a changing environment.

The soil microbial system is largely responsible for the maintenance of terrestrial nutrient cycles. The soil microbiome is among the most diverse and dynamic systems on the planet, and the provision of these services is largely dependent on the capacity of microbial communities to function as a unit.  Predicted changes to global climate and increasing anthropogenic pressures pose a potential threat to microbial communities, as changes in precipitation patterns and temperature beyond the community’s adaptive range may change survival, dominance, and interaction patterns among community members, potentially affecting the community’s ability to provide ecosystem services and recover from future disturbances.  This may be exacerbated if the soils have been previously disturbed by, for example intensive land use.

This thesis aims to discover whether resilience can be lost from the soil microbial system by multiple disturbances, and provide mechanistic insights as to the processes behind this phenomenon, as well as its implications for the maintenance of terrestrial ecosystem services in a changing environment. Through two comprehensive microcosm and mesocosm experiments, Stephanie Jurburg studies the effect of disturbance on the niche structure of microbial communities.