UC Irvine biologists contribute Science article on fungal carbon sequestration
Kathleen Treseder and Sandra Holden with the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology have published a Perspectives article in the March 29 issue of Science describing how mycorrhizal fungi in plant roots may contribute to carbon sequestration in soils. Ecologists are just beginning to understand the diverse roles that soil fungi play in ecosystems. Treseder and Holden commented on a study in that same issue of Science which found that in boreal forest islands, up to 70 percent of soil carbon was derived from plant roots and their symbiotic mycorrhizal fungi. “These findings are exciting because they challenge the dogma that the majority of soil carbon is derived from the decomposition of above-ground plant tissues, and they require ecologists to reframe our understanding of the mechanisms governing carbon sequestration in soil,” said Holden, a Ph.D. candidate. Treseder is a Chancellor’s Fellow and professor who examines the role of fungi in mediating ecosystem responses to global change.