loading page

Mycorrhizal distributions impact global patterns of carbon and nutrient cycling
  • +9
  • Renato K. Braghiere,
  • Joshua Fisher,
  • Rosie A. Fisher,
  • Mingjie Shi,
  • Brian N Steidinger,
  • Benjamin N Sulman,
  • Nadia Soudzilovskaia,
  • Xiaojuan Yang,
  • Jingjing Liang,
  • Kabir G Peay,
  • Thomas W Crowther,
  • Richard P. Phillips
Renato K. Braghiere
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Corresponding Author:renato.k.braghiere@jpl.nasa.gov

Author Profile
Joshua Fisher
Jet Propulsion Lab, Jet Propulsion Lab
Author Profile
Rosie A. Fisher
National Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), National Center for Atmospheric Research (UCAR)
Author Profile
Mingjie Shi
Jet Propulsion Lab (NASA), Jet Propulsion Lab (NASA)
Author Profile
Brian N Steidinger
Stanford University, Stanford University
Author Profile
Benjamin N Sulman
Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Author Profile
Nadia Soudzilovskaia
Leiden University, Leiden University
Author Profile
Xiaojuan Yang
Oak Ridge National Lab, Oak Ridge National Lab
Author Profile
Jingjing Liang
Purdue University, Purdue University
Author Profile
Kabir G Peay
Stanford University, Stanford University
Author Profile
Thomas W Crowther
ETH Zürich, ETH Zürich
Author Profile
Richard P. Phillips
Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana University Bloomington
Author Profile


Most tree species predominantly associate with a single type of mycorrhizal fungi, which can differentially affect plant nutrient acquisition and biogeochemical cycling. Here, we address for the first time the impact of mycorrhizal distributions on global carbon and nutrient cycling. Using the state-of-the-art carbon-nitrogen economics within the Community Land Model version 5 (CLM5) we found Net Primary Productivity (NPP) increased throughout the 21st century by 20%; however, as soil nitrogen has progressively become limiting, the costs to NPP for nitrogen acquisition — i.e., to mycorrhizae — have increased at a faster rate by 60%. This suggests that nutrient acquisition will increasingly demand a higher portion of assimilated carbon to support the same productivity. Uncertainties in mycorrhizal distributions are non-trivial, however, with uncertainties in NPP by up to 345 Tg C yr-1, depending on which published distribution is used. Remote sensing capabilities for mycorrhizal detection show promise for refining these estimates further.
16 Oct 2021Published in Geophysical Research Letters volume 48 issue 19. 10.1029/2021GL094514