Ecoss graduate student Ali Martinez and a team of ecologists including her advisor Marks, Ecoss researchers Ben Koch and Zasha Welsh, Alex Flecker (Cornell University) and Steve Thomas (University of Nebraska) constructed a system of miniature streams whose temperatures Martinez can manipulate. The team studies how nutrients will move in the food chain of warming streams. The Arizona Daily Sun featured the experiment (nicknamed the Kraken) in a top story March 26, 2019. Read the full article here.
Doctoral candidate Elaine Pegoraro designed an experiment to measure how microbes respond to fresh carbon addition at different depths in soil collected from a field site near Healy, Alaska. Essentially, she made glucose additions to the soil three times throughout the course of a year. The results were published this month in Soil Biology and Biochemistry. Pegoraro’s findings suggest that plants may contribute to some soil carbon loss by releasing glucose from their roots into soil. Read the full NAU article here
Former Ecoss Postdoctoral researcher Natasja van Gestel, now at Texas Tech University, and Bruce Hungate and Paul Dijkstra from ECOSS are using deglaciated area in Antarctica to investigate plants and microbial responses to warming. Two graduate students will be integral to the success of the study: Kelly McMillen (Texas Tech University) and Alicia Purcell (ECOSS, Northern Arizona University). Over 90% of the glaciers on the western Antarctic Peninsula have retreated with current, unprecedented warming rates – warming rates here are more than 4 times faster compared to the global average. Why study here? The land ecosystems are far less complex in Antarctica compared to land areas elsewhere, thereby making Antarctic soils more tractable to test scientific hypotheses about the links between carbon balance and those who influence it: the plants and microbes. The scientists are implementing a warming experiment by...
Ecoss's Yiqi Luo and Andrew Richardson and Ecoss affiliate Greg Caporaso (Pathogen and Microbiome Institute) have been named as ‘Highly Cited Researchers’ in 2018 by Clarivate Analytics. The list, drawn from the top 1% of scientific citations over the last decade, offers a benchmark of researchers’ influence within and across 21 scientific fields. Richardson was recognized for his publications in Environment and Ecology as well as in Agriculture, Luo in Environment and Ecology, and Caporaso in Microbiology.
What does the latest IPCC report mean for Ecoss? Center kicks off conversation on climate change, action
On November 1, Ecoss gathered at Root Public House in Flagstaff to discuss the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on warming and what it means for the research center’s work. The report, built on over 6000 scientific references, was a warning bell for scientists and policymakers when it was issued in October. Impacts from warming are highly non-linear, the authors found, and tipping points nearer than previously assumed. The report demonstrated that the previously accepted threshold of 2˚ will not prevent irreversible damage to societies and natural systems and indicated that the global community has 12 years in which to reduce emissions to keep warming under 1.5˚C. Nearly 30 faculty, students, staff, and postdocs joined in this first conversation, shared ideas about what climate leadership looked like, and brainstormed ways that Ecoss might respond to the report. The Center is now seeking ideas from all members...
Ecoss Assistant Research Professor Christina Schädel talks to KNAU and explains what the latest IPCC Special Report on 1.5° warming means for Arizona. Schädel was a contributing author to the report. Short excerpt from the interview: KNAU: What kind of changes are we seeing from climate change here in Arizona? Schädel: Imagine if we have any more days in Phoenix for example where temperatures go above 100 degrees F, and there will be even more when it goes above 115. So we have this already now sometimes in the summer, and it’s not pleasant, and if we have even more, you have skyrocketing air conditioning costs, for example. Another aspect is that the water supply in Arizona is going to change drastically and it’s going to become very unreliable….. Every place will see some form of climate change. It will...
Ecoss professor Michelle Mack is featured in the journal Fire as a woman leader in fire science. The article recognizes international women leaders in fire research and development. Read the article here Michelle Mack is also featured in the AZ Daily Sun as an internationally recognized contributor to NAU's recent ranking within the top 100 National Science Foundation research rankings of universities without a medical school.
Deep beneath the tundra near Eight Mile Lake in Alaska, at the “thaw front” where the active layer meets the permafrost, Northern Arizona University postdoctoral researcher Rebecca Hewitt has been observing a surprising rally: mycorrhizal fungi are congregating, in some cases taking up nitrogen as it’s released from the permafrost into the active layer. Using isotope tracers, Hewitt and her team have found these same fungi at the roots of plants whose root systems are too shallow to reach the thaw front. Hewitt’s findings suggest that these fungi, not yet well-understood, may operate like a superefficient meal kit delivery system for the tundra’s plant communities. Read the full NAU article here Read the full publication in the Journal of Ecology here
Some experts estimate that a single mature oak tree produces between 200,000 and 1 million leaves each year—all of which fall from the tree in the autumn. Although “litter” from decaying leaves is sometimes viewed as a problem in urban and suburban settings, fallen leaves play a critical role in the natural world. Decomposing leaves replenish the soil by releasing carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other inorganic compounds into the food web, but scientists don’t yet have a complete understanding of this complex process or how it is being affected by climate change. Stream ecologist Jane Marks, professor of biology and faculty of Northern Arizona University’s Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss), studies the effects of leaf litter, chiefly within stream ecosystems. Read the full NAU article here