Integrated Biogeochemical Research and Assessment

Science Center Objects

This project integrates soil and ecosystem data to impute important soil properties for hydric soils and wetlands. The work hopes to answer the questions: How have historical changes in biogeochemical processes affected present-day and potential future interactions among land, water, and ecosystem resources? How can improved understanding of historical and present-day biogeochemical interactions and their statistical uncertainties be used to inform the assessment and management of land, water, and ecosystem resources?

Statement of Problem: There is a need to understand how carbon cycling and biogeochemical processes are interdependent on and related to natural resources. This work focuses specifically on the relationship between soils and ecosystems in the conterminous United States. The goal of the project is to develop improved methods to estimate historical to present-day properties of hydric and wetland soils across the conterminous United States.

Why this Research is Important: The nation’s land, water, and ecosystem resources are inherently interactive. Many critical interdependencies are mediated by biogeochemical processes. This project seeks to understand these processes and their importance to assessment and management of diverse natural resources. Further, the project hopes to provide insight into the variability and uncertainty of soil properties and characteristics to local managers.


  • Data integration to characterize biogeochemical attributes and relationships over large spatial areas (Conterminous U.S. to Global).
  • Data integration to understand past changes in these biogeochemical attributes and relationships over decades to millions of years.
  • Statistical characterization of biogeochemical uncertainties and variabilities relevant to resource assessment and management.

Methods: The integration of very diverse datasets involves substantial challenges in controlling data quality, estimating uncertainties, and communicating results for broad audiences. We are applying unique combinations of tools drawn from spatial analysis (GIS), geostatistical imputation, hierarchical modeling, and probalistic resource assessment. We utilize soil and wetlands data, combined with data on historical and present-day ecosystem and landscape attributes, to impute properties of historical and present-day wetland and hydric soils.