Terrestrial Ecosystem Science


Terrestrial Ecosystem Science SFA Project

DOE-SC-Biological and Environmental Research

Sampling a watering experiment at Blodgett Forest. Photo credit: Jenny Soong

In this SFA, we are conducting basic research on terrestrial biogeochemistry, with a focus on belowground soil carbon cycling. (See main Project Website.)

Challenge:  During the next century, what will be the role of soils in terrestrial feedbacks to atmospheric and climatic changes?
Deliverables: Robust, generalizable tools for understanding and predicting soil biogeochemical response to global change across spatial and temporal scales


  • Develop process-level understanding of the controls of soil carbon turnover and stocks.
  • Improve predictions of soil biogeochemistry as part of the soil-plant-climate system and the role of soils in global change.

In Phase 1, working with the factors of soil depth and warming, the team established whole soil warming experiments. Review the team’s research results.

Now in Phase 2, the team is expanding the warming experiment in strategic ways—timescale, plants and their roots, and effects of nutrients in belowground plant systems. The team is refining models, and developing approaches and new hypotheses to explain soil carbon dynamics.

Leads for the Phase 2 tasks are:

Task 1. Biogeochemistry – Margaret Torn
Task 2. Microbial Responses and Feedbacks – Eoin Brodie
Task 3. Organic-Geochemical Controls on Soil Organic Matter – Peter Nico
Task 4. Soil Biogeochemistry and Carbon Cycle Modeling – Bill Riley

Read more about the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science research efforts.