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Impacts of climate change on bioelemental stocks and flows and feedbacks on ecosystems and crops – ELEMENTAL CLIMATE

20th national competition for scientific and technical research

Climate Change and Renewable Energy

Senior Researcher : Josep Peñuelas Reixach

Research Centre or Institution : Centro de Investigación Ecológica y Aplicaciones Forestales. Barcelona


ELEMENTAL-CLIMATE aims to identify and quantify the changes in elementomes in the last five decades in environments (soil and water), and its relationships and feed-backs with climate change and food production. ELEMENTAL-CLIMATE therafter aims to identify and codifythe profound but uncertain effects of these biogeochemical and stoichiometric environmental changes on the elemental composition, structure and functioning of organisms, communities and ecosystems. Warming and drought strongly change stocks and flows of all bioelements. Furthermore, the availabilities of C from rising atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide and of N from various human-induced inputs to ecosystems are continuously increasing, but these increases are not paralleled by similar increases in other earth-bond elements such as P or K. The inexorable change in the stoichiometry of C and N relative to P and K, but also among the other bioelements, Ca, Mg, S,… has no equivalent in Earth’s history. The global implications of the increasing changes in bioelemental fluxes and stocks are shedding light into until now virtually unexplored research field but are highly relevant to life, the Earth system, and society. These changes have great implications in biosphere and human life quality with multiple feed-backs on climate change because bioelements are crucial determinants of the structure and function of living organisms and ecosystem, and food production and quality. We are integrating observations, experimentation, theory and modelling at different temporal and spatial scales to evaluate, predict, and provide possible solutions to the anthropogenic imbalances in elementomes and their effects on climate and food security. The project is providing new metabolomical and remote sensing methods to detect changes in organisms and ecosystems both in response to climate change and nutritional imbalances allowing to improve the models by more accurate and complete incorporation of the drivers controling carbon sinks and the own climate change feed-backs and also more acurate tools to validate the model outputs.We are also finding negative impacts of N:P and N:K ratio imbalances on food security, and global economic and geopolitical stability, with feedbacks and synergistic effects with drivers of global environmental change, such as increasing levels of CO2, climate warming, and increasing pollution. The results obtained already in the project are outstanding as demonstrated in the following list of publications where we sincerely thank and acknowledge the funding from Fundación Ramón Areces that has made them possible.


Scientific Production
Magazine Articles 67
Communications at national conferences 3
Communications at international conferences 25


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