HomeScience & TechAbility of microorganisms to adapt to climate change will reduce global warming

Ability of microorganisms to adapt to climate change will reduce global warming

According to a new study from Lund University in Sweden, the ability of microorganisms to adapt to climate change will reduce global warming by storing carbon in the soil.

In the study, researchers collected soil samples from across Europe at a wide range of temperatures, from minus 3.1 to 18.3 degrees Celsius. The samples revealed that microorganisms in the soil such as bacteria and fungi are highly adapted to the local climate in terms of growth and respiration. However, scientists have surprisingly demonstrated that microorganisms can adapt to temperature changes. Organisms may even benefit from these changes.

“Despite decades of scientific thinking, researchers have not been able to determine whether and if microorganisms can adapt to warming. Now we can confirm that this is the case and that organisms can indeed mitigate climate warming,” says Carla Cruz Paredes, a biology researcher at Lund University.

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A new study published in the scientific journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology also reveals that groups of microorganisms respond differently to warming. Bacteria and fungi differ in their sensitivity to temperature changes, with bacteria being more sensitive than fungi.

In addition, microbial growth is more sensitive to changes in temperature than respiration. These differences in temperature sensitivity have important implications for predictions of future carbon loss and storage, as well as how soils are affected by climate warming.

“The result of these different sensitivities to growth and respiration at different temperatures and between bacteria and fungi will affect the soil-atmosphere carbon balance and thus the soil feedback to climate warming,” says Carla Cruz Paredes.

The study highlights the importance of accurately representing microbial responses to climate warming in soil carbon models. Research also shows that the ecological responses of Earth’s microorganisms will play a key role in regulating the planet’s climate.

“Climate warming is one of the biggest threats to our environment. To mitigate global warming, it is necessary to increase the ability of soil to store or sequester carbon and reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere. This study is a step forward in providing better forecasts for the UN Climate Panel’s assessment,” says Carla Cruz Paredes.

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