Muhammad Shahbaz

Postdoctoral Fellow

Research areas and keywords

Keywords

  • soil science, soil organic matter, soil biology, isotopes tracing, soil aggregation

Research

I am trained as a Soil Scientist and currently working as a postdoc at CEC with Prof. Natascha Kljun in a research project “Climate costs of boreal forest clear-cutting – a multiscale experiment" (CORE). This project aims to assess the biotic and abiotic climate effects ('costs') of clear-cutting boreal forest at Norunda, the forest research site with Sweden's longest record of carbon dioxide (CO2) exchange between land and atmosphere. Long-term records and understanding of the impact of major clear-cuts on the greenhouse gases (GHG) budget are essential for assessment and policy recommendations regarding this predominant forest management practice, but also to calibrate and validate ecosystem models, ultimately reducing the inherent uncertainty of GHG budgets and climate predictions.


I got my PhD at Soil Science, Göttingen University, Germany in 2017 with Prof. Yakov Kuzyakov as supervisor. My doctoral thesis entitled “Crop Residue Decomposition and Stabilization in Soil Organic Matter", which describes the importance of soil structure, crop residue quality and quantity, SOM priming and C translocation for SOM storage in cropland soils. In my thesis, I used two-three source partitioning isotopic-tracing techniques (12C, 13C, 14C) to explain why SOM stocks do not increase linearly with increasing soil C inputs or are stored in different soil fractions, defined on the basis of physical or physicochemical separations.


Before joining Lund University, I also have worked for two years at the Soil and Environment department, SLU-Uppsala, with a research focus on “Turnover of organic matter in agricultural soil throughout the year”. The project was based on a Swedish long-term field experiment at Ultuna (started in 1956) in which C3-crops were replaced with maize (C4) 17 years ago. The objective was to investigate seasonal shifts in microbial utilisation of C sources (by stable isotopes tracing) throughout the year. With the help of CRD-spectroscopic (Picarro) analyzers, in situ, soil respiration (CO2/CH4/N2O) and its isotopic composition over the year was measured. By combining data on the stable isotope composition of different components of microbial biomass with sequencing and amplification of DNA markers from different soil compartments, we tried to elucidate different microbial guilds and their dynamics in relation to their exploitation of root deposits, freshly supplied litter and old SOM.


Moreover, recently I have completed 10-weeks pedagogical trainings at SLU, which are necessary for acquiring essential techniques and tools to become an effective teacher and supervisor in higher education.