AGROECOSeqC

Start:1 November 2021
Duration:36 Months
Aim:By studying the main actors involved in main biogeochemical processes, AGROECOseqC challenge is to investigate the underlying mechanisms promoting the synchrony between plant demand and nutrient supply by soil microbiome, with the aim to build sustainable agricultural systems where plant, soil fauna and microbial diversity are key drivers to reduce nutrient losses, GHG emission, and increase C sequestration in soil.
Keywords:Plant diversity, soil fauna, soil microbiome diversity, plant-soil biota interaction, plant demand-microbial supply synchrony, soil carbon and nutrient fluxes, carbon : nutrient coupling, SOC storage, GHG emission 
Contact:

Project coordinator: Alessandra Trinchera (alessandra.trinchera@crea.gov.it)  

Project communication representative: Valentina Baratella (valentina.baratella@crea.gov.it

AGROECOseqC's multifunctional approach starts from the hypothesis that, by introducing agroecological management practices based on plant diversification and reduced soil disturbance, the plant community shapes soil microbial community involved C-nutrient cycling, this improving the overall microbial CUE and capacity to store C in soil. The expected higher synchrony between plant nutrient demand and soil nutrient availability under agroecological practice will also increase the stable SOC pools, reduce N-leaching and mitigate GHG emission, contemporary boosting those beneficial plant-microbe interactions able to increase biomass production and crop yield.

AGROECOseqC project goals will be:

  1. Quantify the impact of agricultural practices on ecosystem services, including biomass production, SOC storage, greenhouse gas emission and nutrient retention;
  2. Analyse the role played by plant diversity and specific traits on soil fauna and microbial community diversity and functioning, as relevant drivers for SOC storage in soil; particular interest will be put on the fungal mycelial network development in soil and its function at increasing soil aggregates stability;
  3. Assess the level of synchrony between plant nutrient demand, nutrient supply from soil biota and decomposition/resynthesis of soil organic matter along the gradient of tested agroecological management practices;
  4. Identify the most sensitive and robust indicators able to describe the agroecosystem, and how the considered agroecological practice can shape plant community, soil meso- and microfauna, soil microbial community and functioning in favour of C persistence in soil;
  5. Integrate microbial functional diversity and rhizosphere plant-soil interactions (soil fauna, rhizosphere priming, plant control of SOM dynamics, symbiotic associations) into a model of ecosystem C and N cycling (SYMPHONY);
  6. Contribute to integrate these variables in other models considered by other current EJPSoil projects (SOMMIT, CarboSeq, others), also comparing different models’ performances on the dataset produced by the project.