To know what will happen to ecosystems in a changing world, we need to know the fate of the nutrients within them, like carbon and nitrogen.
To know the fate of these nutrients, we need to know how they are distributed and divided within such a system, and how the so-called nutrient cycles change in a warming climate.
This is not an easy task, as we miss a lot of information on many fundamental processes within these nutrient cycles, like the decomposition of dead plant parts (litter) in the soil and the release of nutrients from this soil.
We are now working towards a valuable addition to this field: we argue that soil litter decomposition is strongly related to the local climate (mainly temperature and precipitation), more than to biological factors like litter and soil type.
This is extremely useful, as it allows us to create easy and straightforward models to predict this litter decomposition.
We currently work on a paper presenting these models in Biogeoscience Discussions (Portillo-Estrada et al.), a new and open way of reviewing research. In this discussion section, it will be read by at least two reviewers, but also by everybody else interested, and all are invited to comment. Within some months, the discussion will be closed and the paper improved accordingly.
This is an exciting approach, as it means our research is already online and out there, and the whole community can help improving it.
I will keep you updated about the progress!
Portillo-Estrada et al. (under review). Biological and climatic controls on leaf litter decomposition across European forests and grasslands revealed by reciprocal litter transplantation experiments. Biogeosciences Discussion 12.