Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

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.

Related Content