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News & Events

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September 1, 2015 image of Alaskan burn scars taken from space by the NASA Earth Observatory.
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September 1, 2015 image of Alaskan burn scars. (NASA Earth Observatory) Michelle Mack describes the effects the wildfires in Alaska this summer will have on the carbon emissions from permafrost in this story in the Washington Post. "Beyond the direct carbon emissions from fire, loss of the insulating organic layer is likely to destabilize permafrost, leading to thaw, decomposition and release of soil carbon that may be hundreds to thousands of years old. These permafrost carbon stocks are irreplaceable in the current climate."  
Aerial view of Alaska burning.
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In Alaska: Too Many Fires, Not Enough Snow Alaska burning, Copyright The Atlantic Magazine "Normally a cold winter would help re-freeze the soil and slow the melting of permafrost. But the warmer air might prevent that from happening now...As things warm up, places like Alaska that have a lot of carbon stored in the soil might not always be that way. A lot of that carbon might be lost and end up back in the atmosphere, making climate change go faster." Ted Schuur Read the full article here.
Watercolor of Prague
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Bruce Hungate, Director of Ecoss gave the keynote address to the Goldschmidt Conference in Prague this week for the session, "How do Biogeochemical Cycles Operate on a high-CO2 Planet?" The abstract for Dr. Hungate's keynote address was entitled "Rising CO2 and the Biogeochemistry of Soil Microbial Ecosystems."
rachel rubin with plant samples
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The "Multiple Dimensions of Bioscience" Travel Award supported Rachel Rubin's travel to Evolution 2015, the joint annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution (SSE), the Society of Systematic Biologists (SSB), and the American Society of Naturalists (ASN) in Guaruj, Brazil.
Ember Morrissey, Ecoss Postdoctoral Scholar, Wins Microbiology Award
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Ember Morrissey, Ecoss Postdoctoral Scholar The American Society for Microbiology awarded the 2015 FEMS-ASM Mäkelä-Cassell Award to Ember Morrissey, Ph.D. Morrissey will be presenting her latest, groundbreaking research at the Federation of European Microbiological Societies (FEMS) 6th Congress of European Microbiologists hosted this year in Maastricht, the Netherlands, on 7–11 June. Morrissey is currently a postdoctoral scholar studying microbial ecology and biogeochemistry at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona. Her research focuses on understanding the environmental and microbial regulation of carbon and nitrogen cycling in marsh ecosystems. Her novel approach aims to explore the nexus between microbial evolution and ecology within soil organisms. Morrissey uses advanced stable isotope probing techniques to determine whether respective microbial functions are related to the phylogeny of the organism. Using Morrissey’s novel approach, a fıne taxonomical resolution is used to quantify growth rates of populations...
Drought-stressed forests in Northern Arizona showing dead trees in the mid ground.
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Drought-stressed forests in Northern Arizona. Photo by William Anderegg In forests around the world, drought leaves a legacy that endures even after the rains return. Three Northern Arizona University researchers contributed to a study published this week in Science that showed surviving trees took an average of two to four years to recover and resume normal growth rates after droughts ended. The finding runs counter to climate models that assume instant recovery, said George Koch, a professor in NAU’s Center for Ecosystem Science and Society. Koch focused on project design for the research, while Christopher Schwalm, assistant research professor at NAU, applied his expertise in land atmosphere modeling. Kiona Ogle, who recently moved to NAU from Arizona State University, also contributed to the design and analysis of the study. “What we’ve found is that recovery takes a while,” Koch said....
Microscopic view of Staphylococcus aureus showing ball-formed germs on a bed of blue
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NAU professor and a team of researchers are seeking to better understand staph bacteria, information that could lead to reductions of the potentially lethal pathogen. Abstract The human microbiome can play a key role in host susceptibility to pathogens, including in the nasal cavity, a site favored by Staphylococcus aureus. However, what determines our resident nasal microbiota—the host or the environment—and can interactions among nasal bacteria determine S. aureus colonization? Our study of 46 monozygotic and 43 dizygotic twin pairs revealed that nasal microbiota is an environmentally derived trait, but the host’s sex and genetics significantly influence nasal bacterial density. Although specific taxa, including lactic acid bacteria, can determine S. aureus colonization, their negative interactions depend on thresholds of absolute abundance. These findings demonstrate that nasal microbiota is not fixed by host genetics and opens the possibility that nasal microbiota...
Experimental arrays at sunset measuring carbon dioxide
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Experimental arrays measuring carbon dioxide Sunrise over the subtropical oak woodland, elevated CO2 experiment at the Kennedy Space Center, Florida. The experiment used open-top chambers to increase CO2 concentrations, with paired chambers with no extra CO2 serving as controls. The experiment ran from 1996-2007. Photo credit: Bert Drake.
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