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University of Manchester
Towards a microbial process–based understanding of the resilience of UK peatland systems

Wed 1st December 2021, Online

 This webinar will report on the outputs from the NERC Climate Resilience project ‘Towards a microbial process–based understanding of the resilience of UK peatland systems’ 

Peatland carbon sequestration is driven by ‘a delicate imbalance between primary production and decomposition’. Most peatland work has understood the controls on this balance in terms of physical boundary conditions such as water table or climatic drivers but underpinning these processes are responses of the microbial system which controls decomposition and supports productivity.

Key findings include (i) the importance of ericaeous mycorrhizas versus saprotrophic fungal competition as a control on peatland carbon sequestration, (ii) the importance of the re–establishment and resilience of methanotroph communities in mitigating CH4 flux, (iii) the potential of microbial trait–based approaches in modelling C–cycling in peatlands.

Understanding the microbial communities of resilient peatlands also offers the potential that rapid assessment of microbiota may be a way of assessing the progress and success of peatland restoration projects.

Martin Evans is Professor of Geomorphology at the University of Manchester. He works on peatland erosion and restoration and the links between these processes and peatland ecosystems services with a particular focus on carbon cycling and natural flood management. He was PI for a NERC climate resilience grant on which aimed to bring together peatland scientists, microbiologists and modellers to explore the role of microbial processes in supporting the role of peatlands in climate resilience. A stakeholder response from Tim Thom of Yorkshire Peat Partnership