Details zur Publikation

Kategorie Datenpublikation
DOI 10.16904/envidat.379
Lizenz Open Database License (ODbL) v1.0
Titel (primär) Drivers of the microbial metabolic quotient across global grasslands
Autor Risch, A.C.; Zimmermann, S.; Schütz, M.; Borer, E.T.; Broadbent, A.A.D.; Caldeira, M.C.; Davies, K.F.; Eisenhauer, N.; Eskelinen, A.; Fay, P.A.; Hagedorn, F.; Knops, J.M.H.; Lembrechts, J.J.; MacDougall, A.S.; McCulley, R.L.; Melbourne, B.A.; Moore, J.L.; Power, S.A.; Seabloom, E.W.; Silviera, M.L.; Virtanen, R.; Yahdjian, L.; Ochoa-Hueso, R.
Quelle EnviDat
Erscheinungsjahr 2023
Department iDiv; PHYDIV
Sprache englisch
Topic T5 Future Landscapes


The microbial metabolic quotient (MMQ; mg CO2-C/mg MBC/h), defined as the amount of microbial CO2 respired (MR; mg CO2-C/kg soil/h) per unit of microbial biomass C (MBC; mg C/kg soil), is a key parameter for understanding the microbial regulation of the carbon (C) cycle, including soil C sequestration. Here, we experimentally tested hypotheses about the individual and interactive effects of multiple nutrient addition (nitrogen + phosphorus + potassium + micronutrients) and herbivore exclusion on MR, MBC and MMQ across 23 sites (five continents). Our sites encompassed a wide range of edaphoclimatic conditions; thus, we assessed which edaphoclimatic variables affected MMQ the most and how they interacted with our treatments.


Australia, Asia, Europe, North/South America.

Time period


Major taxa

Soil microbes.


Soils were collected from plots with established experimental treatments. MR was assessed in a 5-week laboratory incubation without glucose addition, MBC via substrate-induced respiration. MMQ was calculated as MR/MBC and corrected for soil temperatures (MMQsoil). Using linear mixed effects models (LMMs) and structural equation models (SEMs), we analysed how edaphoclimatic characteristics and treatments interactively affected MMQsoil.


MMQsoil was higher in locations with higher mean annual temperature, lower water holding capacity and lower soil organic C concentration, but did not respond to our treatments across sites as neither MR nor MBC changed. We attributed this relative homeostasis to our treatments to the modulating influence of edaphoclimatic variables. For example, herbivore exclusion, regardless of fertilization, led to greater MMQsoil only at sites with lower soil organic C (< 1.7%).

Main conclusions

Our results pinpoint the main variables related to MMQsoil across grasslands and emphasize the importance of the local edaphoclimatic conditions in controlling the response of the C cycle to anthropogenic stressors. By testing hypotheses about MMQsoil across global edaphoclimatic gradients, this work also helps to align the conflicting results of prior studies.

Verknüpfte UFZ-Textpublikationen
dauerhafte UFZ-Verlinkung
Risch, A.C., Zimmermann, S., Schütz, M., Borer, E.T., Broadbent, A.A.D., Caldeira, M.C., Davies, K.F., Eisenhauer, N., Eskelinen, A., Fay, P.A., Hagedorn, F., Knops, J.M.H., Lembrechts, J.J., MacDougall, A.S., McCulley, R.L., Melbourne, B.A., Moore, J.L., Power, S.A., Seabloom, E.W., Silviera, M.L., Virtanen, R., Yahdjian, L., Ochoa-Hueso, R. (2023):
Drivers of the microbial metabolic quotient across global grasslands
EnviDat 10.16904/envidat.379