Newly funded grant will address aridity effects on nutrient cycles

Congratulations to Sala Lab colleague Uffe Nielsen (Western Sydney University) on the recent funding from the Australian Research Council granted to his project entitled: “Biogeochemical mismatches: Decoupling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles during drought.” This project brings together expertise from Western Sydney University (U. Nielsen, T. Jeffries, Y. Carrillo), University of Sydney (F. Dijkstra), and Arizona State University, USA (O. Sala).


Drought modifies carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycles with implications for plant growth and productivity. Biogeochemical decoupling occurs during drought due to differential impacts of water availability on these nutrients, resulting in an imbalanced nutrient supply for plants. The aim of this project is to identify the tipping points where drought causes biogeochemical decoupling and determine the underlying biological mechanisms. To date, no systematic approach to generalizing shifts in C, N, and P due to drought impacts across aridity gradients exists.


This research will be conducted across Australia and North America to further our understanding of drought effects on ecosystem processes. Osvaldo is excited to be a part of this research team! Congratulations Uffe!


Figure from Wardle, D.A. 2013. Drivers of decoupling in drylands. Nature 502: 628-629.