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.
Ever wanted to see how perfectly square a 1x1x1 meter cube you could dig? Well neither have I! But it turns out, ecosystem-level carbon accounting require very precise partitioning of biomass pools to be effective.
Chicken or the egg. Grassland soil carbon behaves different than forest soil carbon. But is that because of the plant composition? (No). Or is it because of the climatic differences? (Probably) But if the climatic differences *also* lead to vegetation differences, then how can you separate out the climate from the vegetation? Here we attempt to do so.
Studying wildfire effects on ecosystems is difficult because predicting *where* and *when* something will burn is nearly impossible, and rarely do you have robust pre-fire data. My dissertation samples from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park were collected prior to the Chimney Tops 2 from 2016. It was a wind-driven high intensity and high severity fire that burned 4,500 hectares. In this paper, we examine the pre and post fire pyrogenic carbon signal using an innovative BPCA method developed by Dr. Matosziuk.
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.
Growing trees can take a whole lifetime, so you better know if your site nutrition status changes following harvest. Here we looked at a few sites in the PNW to examine how the antecedent conditions helped to buffer the soils to changes to the nutrient capacity of the site.
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.
Spodosols are the **most** photogenic soils *(personal opinion)*. Their dark organic surface horizons, followed by a light colored mineral horizon, then bookend-ed with another very dark - often red - mineral horizon makes these tri-colored soils magnificent to stare at. These Spodosols are relatively rare, but concentrated in a few places in the US where historical anthropogenic emissions are the most likely sources of Mercury. In this paper we focus on different Spodosols around the US, combining pedologic and geochemical analysis to identify how carbon and mercury interact down the soil profile.
There's a lot of interest around fires effects on soil. What's less often discussed is how well the soil records fire by the presense of Pyrogenic Carbon (PyC). We used the NEON sites and quantified how much PyC was present, and its relative quality, down soil profiles often reaching 1-meter in depth. Turns out, fire *was* everywhere.