A collaborative experimental study got established in April/May 2019 connecting two iDiv platforms - the iDiv Ecotron and AquaDiva.
The experiment directly addressed the primary aims in AquaDiva towards understanding the links between surface and subsurface, especially how organisms inhabiting the subsurface reflect and influence their physical, ecological, and geochemical environment, and affect water and matter transition. In 6 of the 24 EcoUnits, we investigated these questions in the light of climate change, particularly extreme weather events (drought/heavy rainfalls).
The key questions in EcoXtremes were:
- How are carbon, soil water, and gas fluxes altered under predicted climate conditions of increasing weather extremes?
- How do the effects of weather extremes differ in two types of ecosystems - forest vs. grassland?
- How do these contrasting drought/heavy precipitation events alter the transport mechanisms of organic matter (POM, DOM), nutrients, microorganisms, incl. viruses, inorganic particles and colloids through the soil column?
- Do we see differences in microbial biomass and activity as well as in the community composition of Nematodes?
Broadly, this experimental design allows us to disentangle carbon, nutrients, microorganisms, and water transport mechanisms across two different factors: (A) precipitation (extreme vs. average) and (B) ecosystem (forest vs. grassland). Furthermore, this study was the first iDiv Ecotron experiment in which intact and undisturbed soil monoliths were excavated using lysimeters.