Sara Vicca

Sara Vicca
University of Antwerp | UA · Department of Biology

PhD

About

161
Publications
98,201
Reads
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9,379
Citations
Citations since 2016
106 Research Items
8188 Citations
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Introduction
My research focuses on carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, with a strong focus on (1) the feedback between ecosystems and climate change and (2) enhanced weathering and other nature-based solutions for CO2 removal. Through targeted experiments I examine fundamental processes while general patterns and drivers of variation are verified with databases and data syntheses.
Additional affiliations
October 2011 - present
University of Antwerp
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Description
  • FWO postdoctoral fellowship

Publications

Publications (161)
Article
Full-text available
Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi have significantly contributed to weathering of the earth's surface since their evolutionary origin 400–500 million years ago. They have been a key player in the global carbon cycle over geological timescales. In order to reach the global warming targets as agreed at the Paris summit in 2015, implementation of negative...
Article
Negative emission technologies underpin socioeconomic scenarios consistent with the Paris Agreement. Afforestation and bioenergy coupled with carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and storage are the main land negative emission technologies proposed, but the range of nature-based solutions is wider. Here we explore soil amendment with powdered basalt in nat...
Article
Full-text available
Fertilisation experiments have demonstrated that nutrient availability is a key determinant of biomass production and carbon sequestration in grasslands. However, the influence of nutrients in explaining spatial variation in grassland biomass production has rarely been assessed. Using a global dataset comprising 72 sites on six continents, we inves...
Article
A number of negative emission technologies (NETs) have been proposed to actively remove CO 2 from the atmosphere, with enhanced silicate weathering (ESW) as a relatively new NET with considerable climate change mitigation potential. Models calibrated to ESW rates in lab experiments estimate the global potential for inorganic carbon sequestration by...
Article
Full-text available
Enhanced weathering (EW) of silicate rocks can remove CO2 from the atmosphere, while potentially delivering co-benefits for agriculture (e.g., reduced nitrogen losses, increased yields). However, quantification of inorganic carbon sequestration through EW and potential risks in terms of heavy metal contamination have rarely been assessed. Here, we...
Preprint
Full-text available
Plant biomass production (BP), nitrogen uptake (Nup) and their ratio, nitrogen use efficiency (NUE), must be quantified to understand how nitrogen (N) cycling constrains terrestrial carbon (C) uptake. But the controls of key plant processes determining Nup and NUE, including BP, C and N allocation, tissue C:N ratios and N resorption efficiency (NRE...
Article
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Carbon dioxide removal (CDR) that increases the area of forest cover or bio-energy crops inherently competes for land with crop and livestock systems, compromising food security, or will encroach natural lands, compromising biodiversity. Mass deployment of these terrestrial CDR technologies to reverse climate change therefore cannot be achieved wit...
Article
Full-text available
Global warming may lead to carbon transfers from soils to the atmosphere, yet this positive feedback to the climate system remains highly uncertain, especially in subsoils (Ilyina and Friedlingstein, 2016; Shi et al., 2018). Using natural geothermal soil warming gradients of up to +6.4 ∘C in subarctic grasslands (Sigurdsson et al., 2016), we show t...
Article
Sun-induced chlorophyll fluorescence (SIF) is one of the most promising remote-sensing signals to assess spatio-temporal variation in photosynthesis. Yet, it has been shown that the positive linear relationship of SIF and photosynthesis, often reported from satellite and proximal remote sensing, is mainly driven by the amount of absorbed photosynth...
Article
Full-text available
Phosphorus (P) is an essential macronutrient for plant growth and one of the least available nutrients in soil. P limitation is often a major constraint for plant growth globally. Although P addition experiments have been carried out to study the long-term effects on yield, data on P addition effects on seasonal variation in leaf-level photosynthes...
Article
Full-text available
Researchers use both experiments and observations to study the impacts of climate change on ecosystems, but results from these contrasting approaches have not been systematically compared for droughts. Using a meta-analysis and accounting for potential confounding factors, we demonstrate that aboveground biomass responded only about half as much to...
Article
Priming is the change of microbial soil organic matter (SOM) decomposition induced by a labile carbon (C) source. It is recognised as an important mechanism influencing soil C dynamics and C storage in terrestrial ecosystems. Microbial nitrogen (N) mining in SOM and preferential substrate utilisation, i.e., a shift in microbial carbon use from SOM...
Article
Long-term soil warming and nitrogen (N) availability have been shown to affect microbial biomass and community composition. Altered assimilation patterns of recent plant-derived C and changes in soil C stocks following warming as well as increased N availability are critical in mediating the direction and magnitude of these community shifts. A ¹³C...
Preprint
Full-text available
Global warming may lead to carbon transfers from soils to the atmosphere, yet this positive feedback to the cli- mate system remains highly uncertain, especially in subsoils (Ilyina and Friedlingstein, 2016; Shi et al., 2018). Using natural geothermal soil warming gradients of up to +6.4 °C in subarctic grasslands (Sigurdsson et al., 2016), we show...
Article
Full-text available
Terrestrial biosphere models typically use the biochemical model of Farquhar, von Caemmerer, and Berry (1980) to simulate photosynthesis, which requires accurate values of photosynthetic capacity of different biomes. However, data on tropical forests are sparse and highly variable due to the high species diversity, and it is still highly uncertain...
Preprint
Full-text available
Environmental circumstances shaping soil microbial communities have been studied extensively, but due to disparate study designs it has been difficult to resolve whether a globally consistent set of predictors exists, or context-dependency prevails. Here, we used a network of 18 grassland sites (11 sampled across regional plant productivity gradien...
Preprint
Full-text available
Terrestrial biosphere models typically use the biochemical model of Farquhar, von Caemmerer and Berry (1980) to simulate photosynthesis, which requires accurate values of photosynthetic capacity of different biomes. However, data on tropical forests are sparse and highly variable due to the high species diversity, and it is still highly uncertain h...
Article
Full-text available
Plant community biomass production is co‐dependent on climatic and edaphic factors that are often covarying and non‐independent. Disentangling how these factors act in isolation is challenging, especially along large climatic gradients that can mask soil effects. As anthropogenic pressure increasingly alters local climate and soil resource supply u...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite being an essential macronutrient for plant growth, phosphorus (P) is one of the least available nutrients in soils and P limitation is often a major constraint for plant growth globally. Although P addition experiments have been carried out to study the long-term effects on the yield, data on P addition effects to seasonal variation in leaf...
Article
Meta‐analyses enable synthesis of results from globally distributed experiments to draw general conclusions about the impacts of global change factors on ecosystem function. Traditional meta‐analyses, however, are challenged by the complexity and diversity of experimental results. We illustrate how several key issues can be addressed via a multivar...
Article
Full-text available
Terrestrial ecosystems remove about 30 per cent of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted by human activities each year¹, yet the persistence of this carbon sink depends partly on how plant biomass and soil organic carbon (SOC) stocks respond to future increases in atmospheric CO2 (refs. 2,3). Although plant biomass often increases in elevated CO2 (eCO2)...
Article
Full-text available
Droughts can strongly affect grassland productivity and biodiversity, but responses differ widely. Nutrient availability may be a critical factor explaining this variation, but is often ignored in analyses of drought responses. Here, we used a standardized nutrient addition experiment covering 10 European grasslands to test if full‐factorial NPK‐ad...
Article
Full-text available
It is well established that nutrient addition influences ecosystem features such as productivity, carbon storage, soil acidification and biodiversity. Less studied are long-term effects of sustained fertiliser application on forest soil characteristics and nutrient supplies, and especially direct and indirect mechanisms underlying changes. We inves...
Article
Full-text available
Plant community biomass production is co-dependent on climatic and edaphic factors that are often covarying and non-independent. Disentangling how these factors act in isolation is challenging, especially along large climatic gradients that can mask soil effects. As anthropogenic pressure increasingly alters local climate and soil resource supply u...
Article
The article was published bearing a typographical error to the second author name listed. The author group regret the error and the name should be referenced and credited as Jakob Zscheischler and not the former.
Article
Full-text available
Ecotron facilities allow accurate control of many environmental variables coupled with extensive monitoring of ecosystem processes. They therefore require multivariate perturbation of climate variables, close to what is observed in the field and projections for the future. Here, we present a new method for creating realistic climate forcing for man...
Article
Full-text available
An amendment to this paper has been published and can be accessed via a link at the top of the paper.
Article
Leaf‐level net photosynthesis (An) estimates and associated photosynthetic parameters are crucial for accurately parameterizing photosynthesis models. For tropical forests, such data are poorly available and collected at variable light conditions. To avoid over‐ or underestimation of modeled photosynthesis, it is critical to know at which photosynt...
Article
Plant carbon (C) partitioning ‐ the relative use of photosynthates for biomass production, respiration, and other plant functions ‐ is a key but poorly understood ecosystem process. In an experiment with Zea mays, with or without arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), we investigated the effect of phosphorus (P) fertilization and AMF on plant C partit...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims Biological fixation of atmospheric nitrogen (N2) is the main pathway for introducing N into unmanaged ecosystems. While recent estimates suggest that free-living N fixation (FLNF) accounts for the majority of N fixed in mature tropical forests, the controls governing this process are not completely understood. The aim of this st...
Article
Measuring leaf gas exchange from canopy leaves is fundamental for our understanding of photosynthesis and for a realistic representation of carbon uptake in vegetation models. Since canopy leaves are often difficult to reach, especially in tropical forests with emergent trees up to 60 m at remote places, canopy access techniques such as canopy cran...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aim - When soil is rewetted after drought, typically a transient pulse of mineralization and other microbial processes occur. This “Birch effect” translates into a temporarily elevated soil carbon dioxide efflux (SCE) and may alter nutrient availability. While rewetting effects on SCE have been frequently studied, effects on soil nu...
Article
Changes in rainfall amounts and patterns have been observed and are expected to continue in the near future with potentially significant ecological and societal consequences. Modelling vegetation responses to changes in rainfall is thus crucial to project water and carbon cycles in the future. In this study, we present the results of a new model-da...
Article
Full-text available
1. Climate change is a world-wide threat to biodiversity and ecosystem structure, functioning and services. To understand the underlying drivers and mechanisms, and to predict the consequences for nature and people, we urgently need better understanding of the direction and magnitude of climate change impacts across the soil–plant–atmosphere contin...
Article
Full-text available
##### Free pdf via readcube: https://rdcu.be/b05lz ##### Aims: Ingrowth bags are widely used to estimate mycorrhizal growth and dynamics. However, it remains unclear to what extent they reflect the surrounding soil, and how this varies with environmental conditions. Methods: We used a fertilization experiment to investigate if carbon-free mesh ba...
Article
Full-text available
Temperature governs most biotic processes, yet we know little about how warming affects whole ecosystems. Here we examined the responses of 128 components of a subarctic grassland to either 5–8 or >50 years of soil warming. Warming of >50 years drove the ecosystem to a new steady state possessing a distinct biotic composition and reduced species ri...
Article
Full-text available
Climate change is a worldwide threat to biodiversity and ecosystem structure, functioning, and services. To understand the underlying drivers and mechanisms, and to predict the consequences for nature and people, we urgently need better understanding of the direction and magnitude of climate‐change impacts across the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum...
Article
Theory states that tree growth in lowland tropical forests on old, weathered soils is limited by low phosphorous (P) availability. However, evidence for P limitation from nutrient manipulation experiments remains unclear, which raises the question whether trees are taking up added P. In French Guianese lowland rainforest, we measured changes in nit...
Article
Plants use only a fraction of their photosynthetically derived carbon for biomass production (BP). The biomass production efficiency (BPE), defined as the ratio of BP to photosynthesis, and its variation across and within vegetation types is poorly understood, which hinders our capacity to accurately estimate carbon turnover times and carbon sinks....
Article
Plants allocate substantial amounts of carbon (C) belowground to obtain nutrients and other resources. Increasing nutrient availability typically reduces the C investment in root growth and mycorrhizal fungi, hence reducing the C cost of nutrient acquisition. This C cost of nutrient acquisition, however, remains poorly quantified. In a P fertilizat...
Article
Full-text available
Direct quantification of terrestrial biosphere responses to global change is crucial for projections of future climate change in Earth system models. Here, we synthesized ecosystem carbon-cycling data from 1,119 experiments performed over the past four decades concerning changes in temperature, precipitation, CO2 and nitrogen across major terrestri...
Article
Full-text available
Elevated CO2 (eCO2) experiments provide critical information to quantify the effects of rising CO2 on vegetation1–6. Many eCO2 experiments suggest that nutrient limitations modulate the local magnitude of the eCO2 effect on plant biomass1,3,5, but the global extent of these limitations has not been empirically quantified, complicating projections o...
Article
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•Dispersal limitation, biotic interactions and environmental filters interact to drive plant and fungal community assembly, but their combined effects are rarely investigated. •This study examines how different heathland plant and fungal colonization scenarios realized via three biotic treatments ‐ addition of mature heathland derived sod, addition...
Article
Direct quantification of terrestrial biosphere responses to global change is crucial for projections of future climate change in Earth system models. Here, we synthesized ecosystem carbon-cycling data from 1,119 experiments performed over the past four decades concerning changes in temperature, precipitation, CO2 and nitrogen across major terrestri...
Article
Full-text available
Nutrient availability influences virtually every aspect of an ecosystem, and is a critical modifier of ecosystem responses to global change. Although this crucial role of nutrient availability in regulating ecosystem structure and functioning has been widely acknowledged, nutrients are still often neglected in observational and experimental synthes...
Article
Every living creature on Earth is made of atoms of the various bioelements that are harnessed in the construction of molecules, tissues, organisms, and communities, as we know them. Organisms need these bioelements in specific quantities and proportions to survive and grow. Distinct species have different functions and life strategies, and have the...
Article
Full-text available
Elevated CO2 concentrations increase photosynthesis and, potentially, net ecosystem production (NEP), meaning a greater CO2 uptake. Climate, nutrients and ecosystem structure, however, influence the effect of increasing CO2. Here we analysed global NEP from MACC-II and Jena CarboScope atmospheric inversions and ten dynamic global vegetation models...