Carsten Werner Mueller
Soils not only provide the basis for human life, soils are also important to meet climate mitigation and biodiversity goals at regional, and even global scales. To reach these goals soil organic carbon plays a central role. For the storage and stability of soil carbon, plants and their roots are an important regulating factor. This regulation is based on the complex interplay of plant roots, soil microorganisms and soil particles. Although we know of the importance of roots, we still do not fully understand how plant root characteristics, for instance root length or chemical composition, affect the stability of soil carbon and the release of greenhouse gases. We also still lack an understanding of the underlying processes between plants, microorganisms and soil particles. The project will provide both, the fundamental scientific understanding of how plant roots regulate soil carbon storage and greenhouse gas emissions, and practical proxies to be used in future agricultural management to sustain healthy and productive soils.