I successfully defended my PhD, and had a lot of [type II] fun in the process. You can watch my presentation, look through my slides, and access my *draft* dissertation that still requires more edits before it's finalized. Enjoy.
Too many people focus on surface soils, and too many people ignore Manganese (Mn)! If you don't know about Mn's role in ecosystems processes, the introduction is expertly written by Dr. Angela Possinger (also the primary author) and is worth reading over. We show that Mn abundance at the continental scale is highly variable, but that it can be predictive of certain soil carbon metrics (especially lignin abundance). But, the effects of Mn is pretty unique on location, and at each horizon in the soil illustrating the old addage "it's all about site specificity!"
Permafrost soils are some of the coolest things I've ever seen, and the primary author, Dr. Erin Rooney, is showing us all her chemistry skills from the second chapter of her dissertation. If you want to see her first chapter, see her other permafrost paper above that describes some of the *physical* changes to permafrost when it undergoes freeze thaw cycles. But this paper is about the *chemical* changes that occur, and what that could mean for arctic-permafrost nutrient cycling.
Permafrost soils are finally getting the attention they deserve. Unfortunately, they may not be around much longer because of how quickly they are thawing. Here we explore what happens during freeze-thaw cycles that may alter their future behavior
Too many people focus on surface soils, and they're missing out on most of the (soil carbon) action when they do. Here we show that ecosystems favoring forests (wetter, more iron and aluminum) release more CO2 compared to grassland-like ecosystems (dryer, more calcium and magnesium). As our earth warms, we need to consider not only how surface soils will change due to management, but how subsurface soils (where most of the carbon is) will respond due to climate change.
SOM *storage* is not the same as its *vulnerability*. This was a 1-yr incubation experiment from NEON's A and B horizons ran by Tyler Weiglein at Virginia Tech as his Masters degree. We found that predictors of soil carbon vulnerability (based on CO2 respiration) were different for surface and subsurface horizons. Turns out, you need to dig deeper to find out the whole story on soils.
The NEON project was at its infancy when I began my dissertation. They were literally building and installing the ~30 sites around North America at the same time they were sampling soils for my project. Although my PhD focuses on the soils aspect, there is a wealth of publicly available data being generated that any scientist should be aware of.
The National Ecological Observatory Network (NEON) integrates hard infrastructure along with cloud-based data products that are publicly available. In this paper we advertised just *some* of the capabilities that NEON currently has, and describe how other site-specific instruments/observations may be incorporated.
Finding carbon in soils is easy, tracing where it came from is hard and tracing that carbon *down* the soil profile is even harder. Here I presented some of my dissertation work where we examine plant derived carbon compounds across the NEON sites, and down soil profiles often reaching 1-meter or more in depth.