Microbial community composition & function (Obj. 2)
The second objective of the project is to investigate the molecular ecology of hot-spot feature soils to determine whether N cycling differs in pasture areas with a history of high livestock impact. Here, Karina is learning methods in molecular ecology, including quantification of key nitrogen cycling genes in pasture soil. This will provide an evidence-base to determine whether soils around farm-scale features with high livestock occupancy (e.g. drinking troughs and gateways) differ in N cycling microbial function and whether they should be addressed as spatially distinct zones in N cycle models and national greenhouse gas inventories.