We are an interdisciplinary group of scientists with backgrounds in geography, geology, biology, ecology, agronomy, environmental science and analytical chemistry. We seek to understand how global climate change affects the multiple interactions of vegetation, soil, and the terrestrial carbon cycle. These processes are investigated with several complementary state-of-the-art biogeochemical methods in field and greenhouse experiments, combined with databases, modeling and upscaling approaches. Our teaching is research inspired and we aim to involve students early into practical projects.
In einem gross angelegten Experiment in der Sierra Nevada hat ein Team um Michael Schmidt die Auswirkungen der Klimaerwämung auf die Böden und ihre Funktion als Speicher für Kohlendioxid untersucht. In der Sendung «alle wetter!» erläutert er, was die Resultate für die Strategien im Kampf gegen die globale Erwärmung bedeuten.
Microorganisms play a key role in soil carbon storage, as shown by an international collaborative study involving researchers from the Department of Geography. Microbial carbon use efficiency is at least four times more influential than other biological or environmental factors when it comes to global soil carbon storage and distribution. The results have implications for improving soil health and mitigating climate change.
Healthy soils are key to maintaining ecosystem services provided by agriculture. New organic practices can help, but require incorporating traditional knowledge and the needs of local farmers.
Black carbon produced by the burning of fuels and biomass is the most stable carbon compound in nature, yet its path from land to the deep ocean remains mysterious. An international research team under the lead of the Department of Geography characterized the black carbon exported by the Amazon River.