Interactions between life and planets in the modern

The modern day methane cycle: Methane and tropical forests

The tropics play an important role in Earth’s methane cycle. For example, the Amazon River Basin is estimated to contribute up to 7 % of the annual methane flux to the atmosphere. The deforestation of tropical environments is poorly understood with regard to earth’s annual methane budget further complicating our ability to predict methane fluxes from these environments in the future. My postdoctoral research asks how deforestation in the tropics affects underlying soil methane-associated microbial communities and how these changes alter methane flux to the atmosphere. Our team of researchers is measuring methane fluxes, the stable isotopic composition of methane emitted or consumed by soils, and the associated microbial communities across gradients from pasture lands to pristine rain forests to better predict future methane flux from these regions. My main collaborators in this research are Scott Saleska and Laura Meredith.

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In the above photo I am sampling the headspace of a flux chamber in a secondary forest in Brazil. We are collecting the sample to analyze the stable isotopic composition of the methane flux. In later analysis, I will determine the processes controlling the methane flux from its stable isotopic composition. The rest of team poses gallantly. Photo credit: Kyle Meyer.

Interactions between life and planets in the modern

The methane cycle and caves
The methane cycle and tropical forests
Cave air and planetary habitability

Interactions between life and planets in the past

The evolution of grasses

 

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