Regulation of priming effect by soil organic matter stability over a broad geographic scale
Chen, Leiyi ; Liu, Li ; Qin, Shuqi ; Yang, Guibiao ; Fang, Kai ; Zhu, Biao ; Kuzyakov, Yakov ; Chen, Pengdong et al.
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/16896
The modification of soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition by plant carbon (C) input (priming effect) represents a critical biogeochemical process that controls soil C dynamics. However, the patterns and drivers of the priming effect remain hidden, especially over broad geographic scales under various climate and soil conditions. By combining systematic field and laboratory analyses based on multiple analytical and statistical approaches, we explore the determinants of priming intensity along a 2200 km grassland transect on the Tibetan Plateau. Our results show that SOM stability characterized by chemical recalcitrance and physico-chemical protection explains more variance in the priming effect than plant, soil and microbial properties. High priming intensity (up to 137% of basal respiration) is associated with complex SOM chemical structures and low mineral-organic associations. The dependence of priming effect on SOM stabilization mechanisms should be considered in Earth System Models to accurately predict soil C dynamics under changing environments.