Microbial communities in montane ecosystems
Montane ecosystems are particularly sensitive to changing environmental conditions, offering an “attractive” scenario for evaluating the compositional and functional changes of soil microbial communities in the context of climate change. Deadwood represents an important temporary carbon pool in this type of ecosystems. Fungi and bacteria are cornerstone members of communities driving biochemical cycles and the occurrence of bacterial-fungal interactions can translate to major consequences for deadwood decomposition dynamics, soil carbon balance and, in turn forest productivity. This has caught my eye during my postdoctoral stay in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Innsbruck. Some key publications can be found in our DACH-DecAlp project website!
Microbial communities in agroecosystems
Agricultural intensification constitutes one of the most prevalent challenges of the twenty-first century because of continuous global population growth. This has given rise to the urgent need to find sustainable and profitable solutions to preserve soil health. The recycling and valorization of organic wastes through biological processes like vermicomposting or anaerobic digestion can contribute to both environmental protection and fertilizer production. My interest in this area is twofold. First, to evaluate the compositional and functional changes of microbial communities throughout these processes. Second, to study the impact of the end products (vermicompost and digestate) on the abundance, composition and diversity of soil microbial communities. For further information please also visit Soil Ecology lab at GEA research group.
Microbial communities in anthropogenic ecosystems
Maintaining and enhancing soil health is essential in all ecosystems, but it can be particularly challenging in urban environments. The worldwide intensification of urbanization during the last decades represents a major challenge for the environment and in particular for soils, which suffer the effects of the increasing pressure urban development. In parallel, food production within cities has been developing and increasing in importance during the last decades. Thus, different forms of urban agriculture are developing as a way to secure a supply of clean food in urban areas, as it is estimated that, in 2050, 80% of the world’s food will be consumed in cities. Together with Dr. Remigio Paradelo we aim to delve deeper about urban soil health in the context of food production.
In recent years, the investigation of fire disturbance on microbial communities has gained growing attention. Fire can result in major changes in a variety of environmental parameters that are likely to affect (in)directly to soil microbial community composition and function. This line of research has also captured my attention and I have just started a close collaboration with Dr. Gael Bárcenas Moreno from the University of Sevilla that will hopefully lead to fruitful outcomes soon!