USGS - science for a changing world

Soil Biogeochemistry in the Critical Zone

Working at the Santa Cruz terraces

Project Personnel:

Marjorie Schulz, Corey Lawrence, Dave Stonestrom


Jennifer Harden, Kate Maher (Stanford), Mark Waldrop, Jack McFarland, Kristen Manies, Ron Amundson (UC-Berkeley), Art White (emeritus), Tom Bullen, and Alex Blum


USGS Climate, Research and Development Program for Climate and Land use Change


The focus of this project is to quantifying biogeochemical processes in the critical zone with an emphasis on the interactions between soil, water, and plants. Specifically, we explore the role of increased atmospheric CO2 and climate variability on mineral weathering, soil chemistry, and the resulting influence of these factors on water chemistry. Our work directly addresses the hypothesis that increased atmospheric CO2 may increase mineral weathering which would then allow these soils to become a sink for CO2. In addition, we quantify the linkages between mineral weathering and other dynamic processes, with a focus on soil organic matter cycling. We make use of natural soil chronosequences to examine these and other biogeochemical processes, which span seasonal to millennial timescales, employing a variety of biogeochemical analyses, isotopic tracers, and mathematical models.

Results to date

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