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Soil carbon and nitrogen cycling with stable isotopes and models

We are interested in understanding and modeling the coupled cycling of carbon and other elements in the soil.
Carbon cycling using isotopes to track the fate of carbon in the soil-plant system.

Carbon cycling using isotopes to track the fate of carbon in the soil-plant system.

The core carbon-nitrogen cycling in the Cycles model is based on the carbon saturation theory originally proposed by Hassink and Whitmore (1997). We expanded this framework. In the model Cycles the carbon saturation ratio controls both the microbial carbon use efficiency and the soil organic carbon turnover rate. This framework has been expanded to soil nitrogen cycling by Charlie White.

Experiments in our group use natural stable isotope abundance and enriched substrates. Using isotope-based methods, Sebastian Mazzilli reported “priming” in no till ecosystem in soils with high carbon saturation ratio. Also, Virginia Pravia developed a technique for double labeling of plant material with 15N and 13C to study the fate of carbon and nitrogen in no-till crop-pasture rotations.