Marín-Spiotta & Mason receive $776,800 National Science Foundation award

Prof. Joe Mason and Laura Szymanski describe soil samples from a field site in Nebraska, assisted by Geography PhD student Elliot Vaughan. Photo by Erika Marín-Spiotta.

Professors Erika Marín-Spiotta and Joe Mason were awarded a $776,800 National Science Foundation award to study the potential for carbon in buried soils, or paleosols, to become a source of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere in response to changes in climate and landscape disturbance. The project builds upon work by former Nelson Institute PhD student Nina Chaopricha and will be the basis of current Geography PhD student Laura Szymanski’s dissertation. The research will inform predictions of the response of soil carbon to two realistic climate change impacts in the U.S. central Great Plains and other semi-arid regions. Extreme rainfall events can lead to erosion and increase exposure of formerly buried soils to modern surface conditions. Efforts to extend irrigation in response to a drying and warming climate could trigger microbial decomposition and release ancient carbon to the atmosphere. This project is a collaboration with Drs. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe from the University of California, Merced and Marie-Anne de Graaff at Boise State University.

Author: Geography Staff