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Universal temperature sensitivity of denitrification nitrogen losses in forest soils

Cite this dataset

Yu, Haoming et al. (2023). Universal temperature sensitivity of denitrification nitrogen losses in forest soils [Dataset]. Dryad.


Soil nitrous oxide (N2O) and dinitrogen (N2) emissions from denitrification are crucial to the global nitrogen (N) cycle. However, the temperature sensitivities of gaseous N losses in forest soils are poorly understood, limiting our ability to predict N cycling responses to global warming. We quantified temperature sensitivities (Q10) of denitrification-derived potential N2O and N2 production ex-situ for 18 forest soils across China. N2O and N2 production rates increased exponentially with temperature, showing large variation among soils. By contrast, the Q10 values for N2O (2.1±0.5) and N(2.6±0.6) were surprisingly similar across soils. N2 was more sensitive to temperature than N2O, suggesting warming could promote complete denitrification. The Q10 values for denitrification (2.3±0.5) were similar to those reported for aquatic sediments. Collectively, our results indicate a universal temperature sensitivity of gaseous N losses from denitrification, which will facilitate modelling N losses in response to warming on the global scale. 


We conducted laboratory incubation experiments with soils from 18 forest sites across China along a 4000 km south-north transect spanning a 33° latitudinal range. The soils were anaerobically incubated between 5 and 35°C for 12 h after amending them with Na15NO3 (99.26 atom%). Next, the production of N2O and N2 as well as the consumption of nitrate (NO3-) were measured. In addition, we also measured several chemical and biological soil variables of potential importance for denitrification, such as pH, C/N ratio, water extractable organic carbon (WEOC), and functional genes (nirK, nirS, nosZ) abundance associated with gaseous N production. 


National Natural Science Foundation of China, Award: 41773094, 31600358

Ministry of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, Award: 2016YFA0600802

University of Hong Kong, Award: GJTD-2018-07

Youth Innovation Promotion Association, Award: 2021195

Liaoning Vitalization Talents Program, Award: XLYC1902016

Research and Development Project of Scientific Instruments and Equipment of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Award: YJKYYQ20190054