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Can forest expansion in mountain ecosystems generate a positive feedback to climate change: the unseen role of mycorrhizae

 

This research project investigates whether increased plant productivity and forest expansion in mountain areas under climate and land-use change cause shifts in the community structure and function of decomposer microorganisms and thereby accelerate the soil C cycle. Focus is laid on the activity of characteristic mycorrhizae, symbiotically associated with different vegetation types. The project evaluates diverse ecological processes from the plant to the ecosystem scale, based on mechanistic lab experiments and realistic field observations.