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Understanding and predicting ecosystem functioning (e.g., carbon and water fluxes) and the role of soils in carbon storage requires an accurate assessment of plant rooting distributions. Here, in a comprehensive literature synthesis, we analyze rooting patterns for terrestrial biomes and compare distributions for various plant functional groups. We compiled(More)
Global biogeochemical models have improved dramatically in the last decade in their representation of the biosphere. Although leaf area data are an important input to such models and are readily available globally, global root distributions for modeling water and nutrient uptake and carbon cycling have not been available. This analysis provides global(More)
For centuries, biologists have studied patterns of plant and animal diversity at continental scales. Until recently, similar studies were impossible for microorganisms, arguably the most diverse and abundant group of organisms on Earth. Here, we present a continental-scale description of soil bacterial communities and the environmental factors influencing(More)
Although researchers have begun cataloging the incredible diversity of bacteria found in soil, we are largely unable to interpret this information in an ecological context, including which groups of bacteria are most abundant in different soils and why. With this study, we examined how the abundances of major soil bacterial phyla correspond to the biotic(More)
The terrestrial carbon sink has been large in recent decades, but its size and location remain uncertain. Using forest inventory data and long-term ecosystem carbon studies, we estimate a total forest sink of 2.4 ± 0.4 petagrams of carbon per year (Pg C year(-1)) globally for 1990 to 2007. We also estimate a source of 1.3 ± 0.7 Pg C year(-1) from tropical(More)
Scenarios of changes in biodiversity for the year 2100 can now be developed based on scenarios of changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide, climate, vegetation, and land use and the known sensitivity of biodiversity to these changes. This study identified a ranking of the importance of drivers of change, a ranking of the biomes with respect to expected(More)
The depth at which plants are able to grow roots has important implications for the whole ecosystem hydrological balance, as well as for carbon and nutrient cycling. Here we summarize what we know about the maximum rooting depth of species belonging to the major terrestrial biomes. We found 290 observations of maximum rooting depth in the literature which(More)
Here we describe a quantitative PCR-based approach to estimating the relative abundances of major taxonomic groups of bacteria and fungi in soil. Primers were thoroughly tested for specificity, and the method was applied to three distinct soils. The technique provides a rapid and robust index of microbial community structure.
Belowground competition occurs when plants decrease the growth, survival, or fecundity of neighbors by reducing available soil resources. Competition be-lowground can be stronger and involve many more neighbors than aboveground competition. Physiological ecologists and population or community ecologists have traditionally studied belowground competition(More)