ECoSYSTEM ECoLoGY & AGRoECoLoGY LAB
Sustainable Agriculture & Climate Change (SACC)
The SACC trial investigates if sustainable agricultural practices (no till, cover crops, crop diversity) can buffer climate warming effects on agronomic, ecosystem and soil biodiversity outcomes in a barley-camelina rotation. Two parallel experiments (1: warming x no till x cover crops; 2: warming x crop diversity) are running since 2021 in large agricultural plots (10 x 5 m) following a split plot design with 5 blocks.
It is located at La Poveda Research Station, at 25 km from our CSIC campus building. With the help of an amazing crew of research assistants, the lab is aiming to run this study for the next 10 years.
The SACC trial is an open research platform for collaborative research. If you want to develop your research idea/project using our facilities or analyze plant/soil samples from this trial, please let us know. We are collecting an amazing database of plot level estimates (microclimate, soil carbon, crop yield, yield stability, nutritional yield, microbial biomass, nematode community, soil enzymes, soil aggregates, etc).
A distinguished Steering Committee coordinates the research activities at the SACC trial: Pablo García-Palacios (ICA-CSIC), César Plaza (ICA-CSIC), Juan Carlos García-Gil (ICA-CSIC), Jorge Álvaro (EEAD-CSIC), Enrique Valencia (UCM).
The URBANFUN experiment at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) is part of a network of sites testing the effects of climate warming and management intensity on biodiversity and function in urban lawns across the Iberian Peninsula. Currently, 11 experimental sites in Spain and Portugal are part of the network. The UAM-URBANFUN site is coordinated by Pablo García-Palacios (ICA-CSIC), Nagore García (UAM) and Eduardo Moreno (UAM).
Since 2020, we are using open-top chambers to simulate climate warming and two mowing intensities. We are measuring a suite of plot level estimates from microclimate to plant microbiome, soil biogeochemistry, plant community diversity, plastic degradation and other ecosystem functions.
COLLABORATIVE OBSERVATIONAL NETWORKS
This network aims to address how domestication has changed the plant microbiome of major crops for global agriculture. This knowledge is needed to optimize the interactions between plants and microbial communities occurring in the rhizosphere, which is crucial to increase global food production and its resilience to climate change. To do that, we are coordinating an international consortium sampling the wild progenitors of ten crops in their native sites of distribution in the Fertile Crescent, Meso and South America, the Sahel, and South East Asia.
Fantastic project collaborators are sampling multiple (10-15) populations along climatic/edaphic gradients for each crop wild progenitor. To contrast patterns of microbial community assembly, rhizosphere filtering, networks and environmental drivers between wild progenitors and modern crops we have partnered with the Global Crop Microbiome and Sustainable Agriculture. We are sequencing (18S, 16S and ITS) DNA from bulk and rhizosphere soils. Also, we are conducting experimental work at the greenhouse using seeds and soils from wild progenitors and modern crops to explore relationships between the plant microbiome, leaf and root traits and crop production in wild progenitors vs. modern crops.
MICROWILD is coordinated by Pablo García-Palacios (ICA-CSIC), Rubén Milla (URJC) and Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo (IRNAS-CSIC).
GLOBAL INITIATIVE OF CROP MICROBIOME & SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE
This unique global initiative seeks to harness the plant microbiome of five major crops (wheat, maize, rice, potato and cotton) to enhance agricultural productivity and food security. It is coordinated by Brajesh K. Singh (Western Sydney University), Eleonora Egidi (Western Sydney University), and Manuel Delgado-Baquerizo (IRNAS-CSIC). Pablo García-Palacios is member of its Scientific Steering Committee.
We are sampling hundreds of agricultural and natural sites across the globe, and our sampling scheme focuses on multiple plant compartments (rhizosphere, root endosphere, bulk soil, phyllosphere and stems). The same field and lab protocols are being used as in MICROWILD, so the results of both projects can be jointly analyzed in cool wild progenitors vs. modern crops comparisons.