Ectomycorrhizal fungi and past high CO2 atmospheres enhance mineral weathering through increased below-ground carbon-energy fluxes.
ABSTRACT: Field studies indicate an intensification of mineral weathering with advancement from arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) to later-evolving ectomycorrhizal (EM) fungal partners of gymnosperm and angiosperm trees. We test the hypothesis that this intensification is driven by increasing photosynthate carbon allocation to mycorrhizal mycelial networks using 14CO2-tracer experiments with representative tree–fungus mycorrhizal partnerships. Trees were grown in either a simulated past CO2 atmosphere (1500 ppm)—under which EM fungi evolved—or near-current CO2 (450 ppm). We report a direct linkage between photosynthate-energy fluxes from trees to EM and AM mycorrhizal mycelium and rates of calcium silicate weathering. Calcium dissolution rates halved for both AM and EM trees as CO2 fell from 1500 to 450 ppm, but silicate weathering by AM trees at high CO2 approached rates for EM trees at near-current CO2. Our findings provide mechanistic insights into the involvement of EM-associating forest trees in strengthening biological feedbacks on the geochemical carbon cycle that regulate atmospheric CO2 over millions of years.
Project description:Trees and their associated rhizosphere organisms play a major role in mineral weathering driving calcium fluxes from the continents to the oceans that ultimately control long-term atmospheric CO2 and climate through the geochemical carbon cycle. Photosynthate allocation to tree roots and their mycorrhizal fungi is hypothesized to fuel the active secretion of protons and organic chelators that enhance calcium dissolution at fungal-mineral interfaces. This was tested using (14)CO2 supplied to shoots of Pinus sylvestris ectomycorrhizal with the widespread fungus Paxillus involutus in monoxenic microcosms, revealing preferential allocation by the fungus of plant photoassimilate to weather grains of limestone and silicates each with a combined calcium and magnesium content of over 10 wt.%. Hyphae had acidic surfaces and linear accumulation of weathered calcium with secreted oxalate, increasing significantly in sequence: quartz, granite < basalt, olivine, limestone < gabbro. These findings confirmed the role of mineral-specific oxalate exudation in ectomycorrhizal weathering to dissolve calcium bearing minerals, thus contributing to the geochemical carbon cycle.
Project description:Fossil and phylogenetic evidence indicates legume-rich modern tropical forests replaced Late Cretaceous palm-dominated tropical forests across four continents during the early Cenozoic (58-42 Ma). Tropical legume trees can transform ecosystems via their ability to fix dinitrogen (N2) and higher leaf N compared with non-legumes (35-65%), but it is unclear how their evolutionary rise contributed to silicate weathering, the long-term sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2). Here we hypothesize that the increasing abundance of N2-fixing legumes in tropical forests amplified silicate weathering rates by increased input of fixed nitrogen (N) to terrestrial ecosystems via interrelated mechanisms including increasing microbial respiration and soil acidification, and stimulating forest net primary productivity. We suggest the high CO2 early Cenozoic atmosphere further amplified legume weathering. Evolution of legumes with high weathering rates was probably driven by their high demand for phosphorus and micronutrients required for N2-fixation and nodule formation.
Project description:How the colonization of terrestrial environments by early land plants over 400 Ma influenced rock weathering, the biogeochemical cycling of carbon and phosphorus, and climate in the Palaeozoic is uncertain. Here we show experimentally that mineral weathering by liverworts—an extant lineage of early land plants—partnering arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi, like those in 410 Ma-old early land plant fossils, amplified calcium weathering from basalt grains threefold to sevenfold, relative to plant-free controls. Phosphate weathering by mycorrhizal liverworts was amplified 9-13-fold over plant-free controls, compared with fivefold to sevenfold amplification by liverworts lacking fungal symbionts. Etching and trenching of phyllosilicate minerals increased with AM fungal network size and atmospheric CO2 concentration. Integration of grain-scale weathering rates over the depths of liverwort rhizoids and mycelia (0.1 m), or tree roots and mycelia (0.75 m), indicate early land plants with shallow anchorage systems were probably at least 10-fold less effective at enhancing the total weathering flux than later-evolving trees. This work challenges the suggestion that early land plants significantly enhanced total weathering and land-to-ocean fluxes of calcium and phosphorus, which have been proposed as a trigger for transient dramatic atmospheric CO2 sequestration and glaciations in the Ordovician.
Project description:Chemical weathering and the ensuing atmospheric carbon dioxide consumption has long been considered to work on geological time periods until recently when some modelling and natural records have shown that the weathering-related CO2 consumption can change at century to glacial-interglacial time scale. Last glacial to interglacial transition period is a best test case to understand the interplay between Pco2-temperature-chemical weathering when a pulse of rapid chemical weathering was initiated. Here we show, from a high resolution 54?ka record from the Andaman Sea in the northern Indian Ocean, that the chemical weathering responds to deglacial to mid-Holocene summer monsoon intensification in the Myanmar watersheds. The multi-proxy data (Al/K, CIA, Rb/Sr, 87Sr/86Sr for degree of weathering and 143Nd/144Nd for provenance) reveal an increase in silicate weathering with initiation of interglacial warm climate at ~17.7?ka followed by a major change at 15.5?ka. Inferred changes in chemical weathering have varied in tandem with the regional monsoonal proxies (?18Osw-salinity changes of Northern Indian Ocean, effective Asian moisture content and ?18O records of Chinese caves) and are synchronous with changes in summer insolation at 30°N and ?18O of GISP2 implying that chemical weathering was not a later amplifier but worked in tandem with global climate change.
Project description:To lock atmospheric CO2 at anthropogenic timescale, fast weathering silicates can be applied to soil to speed up natural CO2 sequestration via enhanced weathering. Agricultural lands offer large area for silicate application, but expected weathering rates as a function of soil and crop type, and potential impacts on the crops, are not well known. This study investigated the role of plants on enhanced weathering of wollastonite (CaSiO3) in soils. Using rooftop pot experiments with leguminous beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) and nonleguminous corn (Zea mays L.), CO2 sequestration was inferred from total inorganic carbon (TIC) accumulation in the soil and thermogravimetric analysis, and mineral weathering rate was inferred from alkalinity of soil porewater. Soil amendment with wollastonite promoted enhanced plant growth: beans showed a 177% greater dry biomass weight and corn showed a 59% greater plant height and a 90% greater dry biomass weight. Wollastonite-amended soil cultivated with beans showed a higher TIC accumulation of 0.606 ± 0.086%, as compared to that with corn (0.124 ± 0.053%). This demonstrates that using wollastonite as a soil amendment, along with legume cultivation, not only buffers the soil against acidification (due to microbial nitrogen fixation) but also sequesters carbon dioxide (12.04 kg of CO2/tonne soil/month, 9 times higher than the soil without wollastonite amendment).
Project description:The chemical composition of the Gaoping River in Taiwan reflects the weathering of both silicate and carbonate rocks found in its metasedimentary catchment. Major dissolved ion chemistry and radiocarbon signatures of dissolved inorganic carbon (DIC) reveal the importance of pyrite-derived sulphuric acid weathering on silicates and carbonates. Two-thirds of the dissolved load of the Gaoping River derives from sulphuric acid-mediated weathering of rocks within its catchment. This is reflected in the lowest reported signatures DI14C for a small mountainous river (43 to 71 percent modern carbon), with rock-derived carbonate constituting a 14C-free DIC source. Using an inverse modelling approach integrating riverine major dissolved ion chemistry and DI14C, we provide quantitative constraints of mineral weathering pathways and calculate atmospheric CO2 fluxes resulting from the erosion of the Taiwan orogeny over geological timescales. The results reveal that weathering on Taiwan releases 0.31?±?0.12 MtC/yr, which is offset by burial of terrestrial biospheric organic carbon in offshore sediments. The latter tips the balance with respect to the total CO2 budget of Taiwan such that the overall system acts as a net sink, with 0.24?±?0.13 MtC/yr of atmospheric CO2 consumed over geological timescales.
Project description:A shift toward higher atmospheric oxygen concentration during the late Proterozoic has been inferred from multiple indirect proxies and is seen by many as a prerequisite for the emergence of complex animal life. However, the mechanisms controlling the level of oxygen throughout the Proterozoic and its eventual rise remain uncertain. Here we use a simple biogeochemical model to show that the balance between long-term carbon removal fluxes via terrestrial silicate weathering and ocean crust alteration plays a key role in determining atmospheric oxygen concentration. This balance may be shifted by changes in terrestrial weatherability or in the generation rate of oceanic crust. As a result, the terrestrial chemical weathering flux may be permanently altered--contrasting with the conventional view that the global silicate weathering flux must adjust to equal the volcanic CO2 degassing flux. Changes in chemical weathering flux in turn alter the long-term supply of phosphorus to the ocean, and therefore the flux of organic carbon burial, which is the long-term source of atmospheric oxygen. Hence we propose that increasing solar luminosity and a decrease in seafloor spreading rate over 1,500-500 Ma drove a gradual shift from seafloor weathering to terrestrial weathering, and a corresponding steady rise in atmospheric oxygen. Furthermore, increased terrestrial weatherability during the late Neoproterozoic may explain low temperature, increases in ocean phosphate, ocean sulfate, and atmospheric oxygen concentration at this time.
Project description:Chemical weathering consumes atmospheric carbon dioxide through the breakdown of silicate minerals and is thought to stabilize Earth's long-term climate. However, the potential influence of silicate weathering on atmospheric pCO2 levels on geologically short timescales (103-105 years) remains poorly constrained. Here we focus on the record of a transient interval of severe climatic warming across the Toarcian Oceanic Anoxic Event or T-OAE from an open ocean sedimentary succession from western North America. Paired osmium isotope data and numerical modelling results suggest that weathering rates may have increased by 215% and potentially up to 530% compared to the pre-event baseline, which would have resulted in the sequestration of significant amounts of atmospheric CO2. This process would have also led to increased delivery of nutrients to the oceans and lakes stimulating bioproductivity and leading to the subsequent development of shallow-water anoxia, the hallmark of the T-OAE. This enhanced bioproductivity and anoxia would have resulted in elevated rates of organic matter burial that would have acted as an additional negative feedback on atmospheric pCO2 levels. Therefore, the enhanced weathering modulated by initially increased pCO2 levels would have operated as both a direct and indirect negative feedback to end the T-OAE.
Project description:Microbial-Induced Calcite Precipitation (MICP) stimulates soil microbiota to induce a cementation of the soil matrix. Urea, calcium and simple carbon nutrients are supplied to produce carbonates via urea hydrolysis and induce the precipitation of the mineral calcite. Calcium chloride (CaCl2) is typically used as a source for calcium, but basic silicate rocks and other materials have been investigated as alternatives. Weathering of calcium-rich silicate rocks (e.g., basalt and dolerite) releases calcium, magnesium and iron; this process is associated with sequestration of atmospheric CO2 and formation of pedogenic carbonates. We investigated atmospheric carbon fluxes of a MICP treated sandy soil using CaCl2 and dolerite fines applied on the soil surface as sources for calcium. Soil-atmosphere carbon fluxes were monitored over 2 months and determined with an infrared gas analyser connected to a soil chamber. Soil inorganic carbon content and isotopic composition were determined with isotope-ratio mass spectrometry. In addition, soil-atmosphere CO2 fluxes during chemical weathering of dolerite fines were investigated in incubation experiments with gas chromatography. Larger CO2 emissions resulted from the application of dolerite fines (116 g CO2-C m-2) compared to CaCl2 (79 g CO2-C m-2) but larger inorganic carbon precipitation also occurred (172.8 and 76.9 g C m-2, respectively). Normalising to the emitted carbon to precipitated carbon, the environmental carbon cost was reduced with dolerite fines (0.67) compared to the traditional MICP treatment (1.01). The carbon isotopic signature indicated pedogenic carbonates (?13Cav = -8.2 ± 5.0‰) formed when dolerite was applied and carbon originating from urea (?13Cav = -46.4 ± 1.0‰) precipitated when CaCl2 was used. Dolerite fines had a large but short-lived (<2 d) carbon sequestration potential, and results indicated peak CO2 emissions during MICP could be balanced optimising the application of dolerite fines.
Project description:Carbonic anhydrase (CA) plays an important role in the formation and evolution of life. However, to our knowledge, there has been no report on CA isoenzyme function differentiation in fungi. Two different CA gene sequences in Aspergillus nidulans with clear genetic background provide us a favorable basis for studying function differentiation of CA isoenzymes. Heterologously expressed CA1 was used to test its weathering ability on silicate minerals and real-time quantitative PCR was used to detect expression of the CA1 and CA2 genes at different CO2 concentrations and in the presence of different potassium sources. The northern blot method was applied to confirm the result of CA1 gene expression. Heterologously expressed CA1 significantly promoted dissolution of biotite and wollastonite, and CA1 gene expression increased significantly in response to soluble K-deficiency. The northern blot test further showed that CA1 participated in K-feldspar weathering. In addition, the results showed that CA2 was primary involved in adapting to CO2 concentration change. Taken together, A. nidulans can choose different CA to meet their survival needs, which imply that some environmental microbes have evolved different CAs to adapt to changes in CO2 concentration and acquire mineral nutrition so that they can better adapt to environmental changes. Inversely, their adaption may impact mineral weathering and/or CO2 concentration, and even global change.