Earth’s climate is warming, and there is evidence that increased temperature alters soil C cycling, which may result in a self-reinforcing (positive), microbial mediated feedback to the climate system. Though soil microbes are major drivers of soil C cycling, we lack an understanding of how temperature affects SOM decomposition. Numerous studies have explored, to differing degrees, the extent to which climate change may affect biodiversity. While there is ample evidence that community diversity begets ecosystem stability and resilience, we know of keystone species that perform functions whose effects far outweigh their relative abundance. In this paper, we first review the meaning of microbial diversity and how it relates to ecosystem function, then conduct a literature review of field-based climate warming studies that have made some measure of microbial diversity. Finally, we explore how measures of diversity may yield a larger, more complete picture of climate warming effects on microbial communities, and how this may translate to altered carbon cycling and greenhouse gas emissions. While warming effects seem to be ecosystem-specific, the lack of observable consistency between measures is due in some part to the diversity in measures of microbial diversity.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/kristen_deangelis/24/