New Powell Center-funded Project: Global Terrestrial Synthesis of Biological Nitrogen Fixation

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Biological nitrogen fixation is the largest source of the essential nutrient nitrogen that feeds terrestrial ecosystems worldwide.

As a result, biological nitrogen fixation has far reaching effects on ecosystem properties (water quality, carbon storage), sustainability (plant growth, soil fertility), and the global climate system. However, there is much uncertainty in how local measurements should be upscaled for large-scale assessments and Earth systems modeling. In a new USGS Powell Center project, scientists from the USGS, Columbia University, and the EPA will lead an international working group to synthesize information on terrestrial nitrogen fixation worldwide. Researchers will synthesize nitrogen fixation data for many different species, including free-living bacteria, symbiotic plants, mosses, lichens, and others. New methods will create maps of nitrogen fixation across the United States and North America, and analyses of environmental drivers will improve future predictions of biological nitrogen fixation in response to regional and global environmental change.

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Date published: November 28, 2017
Status: Active

Terrestrial Ecosystems Laboratory (FRESC)

Research in our laboratory centers on the ecology and biogeochemistry of forest ecosystems, as well as grassland and riparian systems. We examine how factors such as natural and human disturbances, climate and climate change, succession, and soil fertility shape ecosystem biogeochemistry - and the reciprocal effect of biogeochemical cycles on these and other factors.