The biogeochemical cycles of soils impact global climate, water quality, food production, and many other (if not most!) ecosystem services. These functions arise from complex interactions among microbes, plants, minerals, and physical components of ecosystems. Unpacking these interactions is an exciting challenge with important implications for understanding and managing the environmental impacts of past, present, and future changes to our land use and climate.

Our research spans the intersection of biology and Earth science. We take an interdisciplinary approach to understanding patterns and processes of soil organic matter decomposition and stabilization, nutrient cycling and water pollution, and microbial production of greenhouse gases. We address these issues from both basic and applied perspectives, with an eye towards “use-inspired basic research.” Many interesting questions in soil biogeochemistry are not easily confined (or answered) within a single ecosystem type. To that end, our work  spans a broad range of ecosystems, including tropical rainforests, intensive agricultural landscapes, urban wetlands, and boreal peatlands (among others).

Research themes

  • Impacts of climate and land-use change on soil organic matter dynamics and carbon storage

    • Reconciling old and new paradigms of soil organic matter: the contentious role of lignin
    • Iron as a driver of organic matter stabilization and losses in dynamic redox environments
    • New applications of high-frequency isotope measurements in C cycle research
  • Nitrogen and phosphorus cycling in intensive agricultural landscapes

    • Disproportionate impacts of cropped depressional wetland soils on catchment-scale nutrient loads
    • Unraveling hot-spots and hot-moments of nitrous oxide emissions in hydric soil landscapes
    • Plumbing the greenhouse gas budgets of tile drained ecoystems
  • Plants as geochemical engineers

    • Impacts of dynamic organo-mineral associations on nutrient availability

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