Soils Lab

Research and Projects

Research Interests

Some of the most fascinating advances in our understanding of ecosystems are likely to occur at the interface between ecology and biogeochemistry. Recent discoveries, such as the regulation of species diversity in Arctic tundra by soil nitrogen composition, indicate the ecological importance of soil nutrient biogeochemistry. There is currently limited information for tropical forests, but given their remarkable diversity and the complex interactions that exist at all trophic levels, it seems certain that similar interactions occur.

Key research questions being addressed include:

  1. What forms of nutrients are present in tropical soils? How do their solubility and/or availability vary in time and space? Are there marked differences in nutrient availability that may partly explain above ground ecology?

  2. How do organisms access nutrients from tropical soils, especially organic nutrients? Likely mechanisms include secretion of phosphatase or organic anions, mycorrhizal association, and direct uptake of low molecular-weight organic compounds.

  3. Could the differential availability of nutrients based on the above mechanisms regulate species diversity?

Projects

Nutrient Cycling in Tropical Forest Soils
CTFS Carbon Project
Chronosequences *
Tropical Montane Forest
Nutrients regulation on Plant Physiology
Inositol phosphate
Organic P Workshop 2013
Microbial diversity
Wetlands
Tropical Podocarps