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Mapping soil microbial residence time at the global scale


Zhao, Fazhu et al. (2022), Mapping soil microbial residence time at the global scale, Dryad, Dataset,


Soil microbes ultimately drive the mineralization of soil organic carbon and thus ecosystem functions. We compiled a dataset of the seasonality of microbial biomass carbon (MBC) and developed a semi-mechanistic model to map monthly MBC across the globe. MBC exhibits an equatorially symmetric seasonality between the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. In the Northern Hemisphere, MBC peaks in autumn and is minimal in spring at low latitudes (<25° N), peaks in the spring and is minimal in autumn at mid-latitudes (25°-50° N), while peaks in autumn and is minimal in spring at high latitudes (>50° N). This latitudinal shift of MBC seasonality is attributed to an interaction of soil temperature, soil moisture, and substrate availability. The MBC seasonality is inconsistent with patterns of heterotrophic respiration, indicating that MBC as a proxy for microbial activity is inappropriate at this resolution. This study highlights the need to explicitly represent microbial physiology in microbial models. The interactive controls of environments and substrate on microbial seasonality provide insights for better representing microbial mechanisms in simulating ecosystem functions at the seasonal scale.


We used Google Scholar ( for a comprehensive search of peer-reviewed papers published by December 2020.


National Science Foundation, Award: 2145130 to X.X.

National Science Foundation of China, Award: 42277284

The 2021 first funds for the central government to guide local science and technology development in Qinghai Province, Award: 2021ZY002