Harness the Power of Artificial intelligence and -Omics to Identify Soil Microbial Functions in Climate Change Projection (Ideas Track)

Yang Song (Oak Ridge National Lab); Dali Wang (Oak Ridge National Lab); Melanie Mayes (Oak Ridge National Lab)


Contemporary Earth system models (ESMs) omit one of the significant drivers of the terrestrial carbon cycle, soil microbial communities. Soil microbial community not only directly emit greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere through the respiration process, but also release diverse enzymes to catalyze the decomposition of soil organic matter and determine nutrient availability for aboveground vegetation. Therefore, soil microbial community control over terrestrial carbon dynamics and their feedbacks to climate. Currently, inadequate representation of soil microbial communities in ESMs has introduced significant uncertainty in current terrestrial carbon-climate feedbacks. Mitigation of this uncertainty requires to identify functions, diversity, and environmental adaptation of soil microbial communities under global climate change. The revolution of -omics technology allows high throughput quantification of diverse soil enzymes, enabling large-scale studies of microbial functions in climate change. Such studies may lead to revolutionary solutions to predicting microbial-mediated climate-carbon feedbacks at the global scale based on gene-level environmental adaptation strategies of the microbial community. A key initial step in this direction is to identify the biogeography and environmental adaptation of soil enzyme functions based on the massive amount of data generated by -omics technologies. Here we propose to make this step. Artificial intelligence is a powerful, ideal tool for this leap forward. Our project is to integrate Artificial intelligence technologies and global -omics data to represent climate controls on microbial enzyme functions and mapping biogeography of soil enzyme functional groups at global scale. This outcome of this study will allow us to improve the representation of microbial function in earth system modeling and mitigate uncertainty in current climate projection.