I investigate the mechanisms behind the Rhizosphere Priming Effect (i.e. the effect of the release of labile carbon and nitrogen by plant roots on microbial decomposition of soil organic matter). I developed a model which links carbon and nitrogen input by plants to microbial community composition and function in a spatially structured soil environment, and analyzes how cooperation between microbial functional groups may lead to their coexistence and the emerging of the priming effect.
The model showed that:
Large rainfall events after long dry periods result in a flux of CO2 from soil that is larger than predicted. I examined the biological and physical dynamics leading up to a CO2 pulse after drying-rewetting .
 Kaiser C, Franklin O, Dieckmann U, Richter A (2014). Microbial community dynamics alleviate stoichiometric constraints during litter decay. Ecology Letters 17: 680–690.
 Kaiser C, Richter A, Franklin O & Dieckmann U. Social interactions among microbes at the microscale drive large-scale carbon and nitrogen dynamics in soil (in revision).
 Evans S, Dieckmann U, Franklin O, Kaiser C. The Birch Effect at the microscale: An individual-based, spatially explicit model explains soil CO2 efflux under soil drying and rewetting (in preparation).
Funding: Evolution and Ecology Program & IIASA
Program: Evolution and Ecology Program
Dates: December 2011 – January 2014
Last edited: 24 January 2019
Related research program
Postdoctoral research at IIASA
Walker T, Kaiser C, Strasser F, Herbold C, Leblans N, Woebken D, Janssens I, Sigurdsson B, et al. (2018). Microbial temperature sensitivity and biomass change explain soil carbon loss with warming. Nature Climate Change 8 (9): 885-889. DOI:10.1038/s41558-018-0259-x.
Evans S, Dieckmann U, Franklin O, & Kaiser C (2016). Synergistic effects of diffusion and microbial physiology reproduce the Birch effect in a micro-scale model. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 93: 28-37. DOI:10.1016/j.soilbio.2015.10.020.
Kaiser C, Franklin O, Richter A, & Dieckmann U (2015). Social dynamics within decomposer communities lead to nitrogen retention and organic matter build-up in soils. Nature Communications 6: no.8960. DOI:10.1038/ncomms9960.
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