Energy production, agriculture, and development have altered the global biogeochemical cycles that support life on Earth. A global population of over 7 billion people exerts tremendous pressures on ecosystems, threatening their ability to meet human needs, and impacting underlying carbon (C), nutrient, and water cycles. It is necessary to understand these life support systems in order to develop creative solutions for a sustainable future.
This grand challenge motivates my research program. I seek to discover and quantify the processes dominating the regulation of biogeochemical cycles within terrestrial ecosystems. I combine observational and computational approaches from ecosystem biogeochemistry and hydrology to examine transformations and fluxes of key reactive elements at local to regional scales. Ultimately, I am interested in investigating how ecosystem metabolism, residence time, and mobility of C, nitrogen, and sulfur respond to changing drivers, such as climate, land cover/land use, and atmospheric deposition/fertilizer applications. Furthermore, I aim to link my results to those of other researchers studying coupled atmospheric and aquatic systems, and inform local decision-making . This foundation in process-based research informs more recent endeavors into network science design and development of observation-modeling frameworks that predict biogeochemical phenomena at larger scales.
Past and current research projects include:
- Sulfur cycling in natural and managed systems
- The fate of atmospheric N deposition in the Colorado Front Range
- Connecting short-term biogeochemical processes to long-term evolution of the critical zone
- The potential resource of abandoned agricultural lands for bioenergy crops and C sequestration
- Network biogeochemistry and scaling belowground processes
To learn more about my research, please visit the Environmental Biogeochemistry Group website.