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Towards a microbial process-based understanding of the resilience of peatland ecosystem service provisioning – a research agenda

Towards a microbial process-based understanding of the resilience of peatland ecosystem service provisioning – a research agenda
Towards a microbial process-based understanding of the resilience of peatland ecosystem service provisioning – a research agenda

Peatlands are wetland ecosystems with great significance as natural habitats and as major global carbon stores. They have been subject to widespread exploitation and degradation with resulting losses in characteristic biota and ecosystem functions such as climate regulation. More recently, large-scale programmes have been established to restore peatland ecosystems and the various services they provide to society. Despite significant progress in peatland science and restoration practice, we lack a process-based understanding of how soil microbiota influence peatland functioning and mediate the resilience and recovery of ecosystem services, to perturbations associated with land use and climate change. We argue that there is a need to: in the short-term, characterise peatland microbial communities across a range of spatial and temporal scales and develop an improved understanding of the links between peatland habitat, ecological functions and microbial processes; in the medium term, define what a successfully restored ‘target’ peatland microbiome looks like for key carbon cycle related ecosystem services and develop microbial-based monitoring tools for assessing restoration needs; and in the longer term, to use this knowledge to influence restoration practices and assess progress on the trajectory towards ‘intact’ peatland status. Rapid advances in genetic characterisation of the structure and functions of microbial communities offer the potential for transformative progress in these areas, but the scale and speed of methodological and conceptual advances in studying ecosystem functions is a challenge for peatland scientists. Advances in this area require multidisciplinary collaborations between peatland scientists, data scientists and microbiologists and ultimately, collaboration with the modelling community. Developing a process-based understanding of the resilience and recovery of peatlands to perturbations, such as climate extremes, fires, and drainage, will be key to meeting climate targets and delivering ecosystem services cost effectively.

Carbon cycling, Microbiology, Peat, Peatland restoration and management, Resilience
0048-9697
Ritson, Jonathan
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Alderson, Danielle
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Robinson, Clare
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Burkitt, Alexandra
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Heinemeyer, Andreas
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Stimson, Andrew
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Gallego-Sala, Angela
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Harris, Angela
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Quillet, Anne
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Malik, Ashish
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Cole, Beth
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Robroek, Bjorn
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Heppell, Catherine
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Rivett, Damian
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Chandler, Dave
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Elliott, David
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Shuttleworth, Emma
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Lilleskov, Erik
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Cox, Filipa
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Clay, Gareth
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Diack, Iain
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Rowson, James
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Pratscher, Jennifer
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Lloyd, Jonathan
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Walker, Jonathan
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Belyea, Lisa
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Dumont, Marc
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Longden, Mike
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Bell, Nicholle
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Artz, Rebekka
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Bardgett, Richard
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Griffiths, Robert
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Andersen, Roxane
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Chadburn, Sarah
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Hutchinson, Simon
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Page, Susan
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Thom, Tim
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Burn, William
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Evans, Martin
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Ritson, Jonathan
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Alderson, Danielle
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Robinson, Clare
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Burkitt, Alexandra
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Heinemeyer, Andreas
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Stimson, Andrew
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Gallego-Sala, Angela
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Harris, Angela
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Quillet, Anne
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Malik, Ashish
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Cole, Beth
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Robroek, Bjorn
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Heppell, Catherine
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Rivett, Damian
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Chandler, Dave
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Elliott, David
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Shuttleworth, Emma
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Lilleskov, Erik
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Cox, Filipa
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Clay, Gareth
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Diack, Iain
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Rowson, James
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Pratscher, Jennifer
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Lloyd, Jonathan
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Walker, Jonathan
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Belyea, Lisa
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Dumont, Marc
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Longden, Mike
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Bell, Nicholle
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Artz, Rebekka
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Bardgett, Richard
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Griffiths, Robert
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Andersen, Roxane
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Chadburn, Sarah
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Hutchinson, Simon
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Page, Susan
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Thom, Tim
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Burn, William
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Evans, Martin
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Ritson, Jonathan, Alderson, Danielle, Robinson, Clare, Burkitt, Alexandra, Heinemeyer, Andreas, Stimson, Andrew, Gallego-Sala, Angela, Harris, Angela, Quillet, Anne, Malik, Ashish, Cole, Beth, Robroek, Bjorn, Heppell, Catherine, Rivett, Damian, Chandler, Dave, Elliott, David, Shuttleworth, Emma, Lilleskov, Erik, Cox, Filipa, Clay, Gareth, Diack, Iain, Rowson, James, Pratscher, Jennifer, Lloyd, Jonathan, Walker, Jonathan, Belyea, Lisa, Dumont, Marc, Longden, Mike, Bell, Nicholle, Artz, Rebekka, Bardgett, Richard, Griffiths, Robert, Andersen, Roxane, Chadburn, Sarah, Hutchinson, Simon, Page, Susan, Thom, Tim, Burn, William and Evans, Martin (2020) Towards a microbial process-based understanding of the resilience of peatland ecosystem service provisioning – a research agenda. Science of the Total Environment, [143467]. (doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.143467).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Peatlands are wetland ecosystems with great significance as natural habitats and as major global carbon stores. They have been subject to widespread exploitation and degradation with resulting losses in characteristic biota and ecosystem functions such as climate regulation. More recently, large-scale programmes have been established to restore peatland ecosystems and the various services they provide to society. Despite significant progress in peatland science and restoration practice, we lack a process-based understanding of how soil microbiota influence peatland functioning and mediate the resilience and recovery of ecosystem services, to perturbations associated with land use and climate change. We argue that there is a need to: in the short-term, characterise peatland microbial communities across a range of spatial and temporal scales and develop an improved understanding of the links between peatland habitat, ecological functions and microbial processes; in the medium term, define what a successfully restored ‘target’ peatland microbiome looks like for key carbon cycle related ecosystem services and develop microbial-based monitoring tools for assessing restoration needs; and in the longer term, to use this knowledge to influence restoration practices and assess progress on the trajectory towards ‘intact’ peatland status. Rapid advances in genetic characterisation of the structure and functions of microbial communities offer the potential for transformative progress in these areas, but the scale and speed of methodological and conceptual advances in studying ecosystem functions is a challenge for peatland scientists. Advances in this area require multidisciplinary collaborations between peatland scientists, data scientists and microbiologists and ultimately, collaboration with the modelling community. Developing a process-based understanding of the resilience and recovery of peatlands to perturbations, such as climate extremes, fires, and drainage, will be key to meeting climate targets and delivering ecosystem services cost effectively.

Text
Revised_manuscript (2) - Accepted Manuscript
Restricted to Repository staff only until 10 November 2021.
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Ritson et al 2020
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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 24 October 2020
e-pub ahead of print date: 10 November 2020
Keywords: Carbon cycling, Microbiology, Peat, Peatland restoration and management, Resilience

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 445426
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/445426
ISSN: 0048-9697
PURE UUID: 99087941-ca72-457f-acef-4d9b81706609
ORCID for Marc Dumont: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-7347-8668

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 08 Dec 2020 17:31
Last modified: 18 Feb 2021 17:25

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Contributors

Author: Jonathan Ritson
Author: Danielle Alderson
Author: Clare Robinson
Author: Alexandra Burkitt
Author: Andreas Heinemeyer
Author: Andrew Stimson
Author: Angela Gallego-Sala
Author: Angela Harris
Author: Anne Quillet
Author: Ashish Malik
Author: Beth Cole
Author: Bjorn Robroek
Author: Catherine Heppell
Author: Damian Rivett
Author: Dave Chandler
Author: David Elliott
Author: Emma Shuttleworth
Author: Erik Lilleskov
Author: Filipa Cox
Author: Gareth Clay
Author: Iain Diack
Author: James Rowson
Author: Jennifer Pratscher
Author: Jonathan Lloyd
Author: Jonathan Walker
Author: Lisa Belyea
Author: Marc Dumont ORCID iD
Author: Mike Longden
Author: Nicholle Bell
Author: Rebekka Artz
Author: Richard Bardgett
Author: Robert Griffiths
Author: Roxane Andersen
Author: Sarah Chadburn
Author: Simon Hutchinson
Author: Susan Page
Author: Tim Thom
Author: William Burn
Author: Martin Evans

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