Global Change Biology

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The Midwest is experiencing higher frequencies of intense rainfall followed by drought as a result of climate change. Such rainfall patterns are expected to become more severe as temperatures continue to rise. Global crop yields have already been negatively impacted by these rainfall patterns. However, it is unclear how the drying and re-wetting cycles caused by these patterns will influence rhizosphere processes. Given that the rhizosphere is a key regulator of the global carbon cycle and mediates nutrient acquisition for crop growth, determining the impact of extreme rainfall on rhizosphere dynamics has environmental and economic significance at global, regional, and local scales. Our research team is conducting a series of rainfall manipulation experiments to determine how rainfall variability influences root production, biomass allocation, nutrient cycling, microbial activity, soil health, and plant nitrogen uptake.