How multiple factors of climate change affect soil

A team of ecologists at Freie Universität Berlin studied soil and how it was affected by multiple factors of climate change. The team, led by Prof. Dr. Matthias Rillig, experimentally examined effects of up to 10 factors of climate change by randomly adding an increasing number of such factors. Results on soil functions and biodiversity showed consistent trends with increasing number of factors added, irrespective of what the factors were. The results give a rare glimpse into what might happen under climate change when considering a wide range of factors simultaneously: there were ecological “surprises,” and it was quite difficult to accurately predict effects when many factors were involved. The study highlights the urgent need to focus on multifactor studies and appears in the current issue of Science.

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