Soil organic carbon and nitrogen storage paper published online

Our paper entitled “Soil organic carbon and nitrogen storage in two southern California salt marshes: the role of pre-restoration vegetation” has just been published online in the Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences.

I’m particularly proud of my undergraduate collaborators on this project.  Co-authors Tyler Anthony, DJ Clark, Kristin Gabriel, Dewmini Gamalath, Ryan Kabala, Julie King, Ladyssara Medina and Monica Nguyen were all students in the Fall 2013 version of my Ecosystems Ecology course at Chapman University.

This publication is the second time that we have manged to publish the results of our semester-long experiment in this course.  It is a testament to what undergraduates at Chapman are capable of.

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Swamp Monsters Take SWS

Last week the Swamp Monsters stormed the annual meeting of the Society of Wetland Scientists in Providence, RI!

I presented an invited talk, entitled “Initial Responses of Methane Cycling to Deep Peat Warming in a Bog Ecosystem” focused on our work at the SPRUCE experiment.  Dr. Medvedeff gave a talk entitled “Revisiting Anaerobic Carbon Cycling in Peatlands: Do We Know What Happens to Glucose?” exploring some of our most quizzical laboratory results.

I’m particularly proud of the 3 students who gave amazing posters at the meeting.

The Swamp Monsters Dominated the 2015 SWS Meeting!  From left to right: Nikole Meade, Dr. Cassandra Medvedeff, Jenny Bowen, Kristin Gabriel and Dr. Keller.

The Swamp Monsters Dominated the 2015 SWS Meeting! From left to right: Nikole Meade, Dr. Cassandra Medvedeff, Jenny Bowen, Kristin Gabriel and Dr. Keller.

Nikole Meade was a student in our laboratory during the summer of 2014 through the REU SURFEES program at Chapman University and presented her work demonstrating, for the first time, that methylotrophic methane production is possible in peatland soils.  Kristin Gabriel (Biochemistry Major, Class of 2016) presented a great poster on the “Buckets” project which demonstrates that water-table level can lead to shifts in redox properties of organic terminal electron acceptors in peatland soils.  Finally, Jenny Bowen

(Chemistry and Environmental Science & Policy Majors, Class of 2015) shared the results of a project which explored anaerobic decomposition through both ecological and chemical perspectives.  Well done all around — they made us look good!

This meeting also reminded me that I’ve been working with Dr. Scott Bridgham since I was an undergraduate at the University of Notre Dame.  He continues to be an incredible mentor and collaborator.  My office mate during graduate school, Dr. Colleen Iversen, was also at the meeting sharing the incredible work that she is doing on wetland root dynamics at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

I've been working with Scott Bridgham (center) for 20 years -- starting as an undergraduate dish washer in his lab!

I’ve been working with Scott Bridgham (center) for 20 years — starting as an undergraduate dish washer in his lab!

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Can Sphagnum leachate chemistry explain differences in anaerobic decomposition in peatlands?

Dr. Medvedeff’s Soil Biology & Biochemistry paper is now available on the journal’s website.  Great work Cassandra!

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So cool!

SPRUCE CHAMBERDr. Medvedeff and our colleague Dr. Jeff Chanton are currently in northern Minnesota braving the cold to sample porewater from beneath the ice at the SPRUCE site.  Jeff sent back the above photograph showing the progress of the chambers that are being built at this site.  They are so cool!   There will ultimately be 10 of these chambers in the bog that will manipulate both surface temperature (using propane heaters) and atmospheric carbon dioxide to explore the effects of these global change parameters on this wetland ecosystem.  Look at the size of these things compared to the contractors that are installing them.  Very excited to see them first-hand this summer.

UPDATE:  Check out this picture of Cassandra in front of one of the chambers. There is a door into the chamber. A. real. door.  So freakin’ cool! 

Mn Chambers_CM1

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Better late than never

It has been too long!  The lack of updates here does not reflect a lack of activity in the lab – we’ve been busy.  We got some great news earlier today that served as a catalyst to finally post an update…

“I am pleased to be able to inform you that the manuscript SBB9702R1: “Can Sphagnum Leachate Chemistry Explain Differences in Anaerobic Decomposition in Peatlands?” has now been accepted for publication in Soil Biology & Biochemistry”

This is the first project resulting from our work on the super-cool SPRUCE project and the first (of many) manuscripts under the leadership of Dr. Cassandra Medvedeff to come out of the lab.  Cassandra did a great job on this paper and I’m thrilled to see it accepted.  Keep your eyes peeled for the publication.

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Methane review getting some attention

We just got an exciting email from Global Change Biology about the methane review we published last year…

“Congratulations on your most downloaded article in Global Change Biology (GCB), “Methane emissions from wetlands: biogeochemical, microbial, and modeling perspectives from local to global scales.”  Your paper is one of the 20 most downloaded of 2013 according to Wiley Online Library, placing it among the very top percentage of articles in GCB.”

I’m really happy to have had the opportunity to contribute to this article along with my co-authors and collaborators (Scott Bridgham, Hinsby Cadillo-Quiroz and Charlie Zhuang).  Global Change Biology is a great journal and it is really cool to see our review generating this type of interest.




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Acetate Paper Published

Happy to share that a new manuscript resulting from work with colleagues at the University of Oregon (as part of a recent NSF project) has been officially published!  The paper, entitled, “Homoacetogenesis: an underappreciated carbon pathway in peatlands” is now available online and will see the light of day in 2014 in the journal Soil Biology and BiochemistryCheck it out here.

This paper shows that the microbial process of homoacetogenesis (the formation of acetate by the reduction of CO2 using H2 as an electron donor) might be an important control over carbon and CH4 cycling in peatland soils.  This is despite commonly held assumptions that this process plays a minor role.  Once again, this work reminds me that what we think we know about nature may be very far from reality!  Congrats to Rongzhong Ye (a former post-doc on the project, currently at UC Davis) for pushing this one through the review process.

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