Biosphere-atmosphere trace-gas flux measurements of microbe-mediated biogeochemical cycles

Dr. Laura Meredith, Assistant Professor of Ecosystem Genomics, University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources and the Environment SNRE and the The University of Arizona BIO5 Institute

Abstract for Weekly Colloquium on Thursday, September 7, 2017 at 4 pm in Harshbarger 206 ~ Refreshments at 3:45 pm

Microorganisms play a significant role in driving biogeochemical cycles. These cycles include biosphere-atmosphere exchange of trace gases (e.g., CO2, CH4) that influence atmospheric composition and climate. Soils teem with microbial life that produce and consume trace gases. Understanding microbe-environment interactions is critical for predicting the response of terrestrial ecosystems to changes in land use and climate.

In my research, I quantify the microbial imprint on atmospheric composition and climate using an interdisciplinary set of methods, ranging from genomics to micrometeorology. My work focuses on resolving the genomic underpinnings of microbe-mediated biogeochemical transformations in soils that drive significant atmospheric fluxes (e.g., H2, COS, 18O-CO2, CO2, CH4). The goal of my work is to determine when and how projections of biogeochemical transformations are improved by better representation of underlying biological drivers. 


 I am an interdisciplinary scientist working on research questions at the intersection of environmental microbiology and atmospheric chemistry. Microorganisms have produced dramatic shifts in the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, and they continue to drive significant exchange of trace gases and aerosols between the land, oceans, and atmosphere. My group focuses on microbes and enzymes that strongly affect atmospheric chemistry. In addition to work in the lab, our study systems include temperate forests, the tropical Amazon, and now the Landscape Evolution Observatory at Biosphere 2!

Prior to my SNRE position, I was an Associate Research Scientist with Scott Saleska (The University of Arizona) and an Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences National Science Foundation (NSF) Postdoctoral Fellow in Paula Welander’s geobiology lab (Stanford University) and Joe Berry‘s trace gas lab (Carnegie Institution for Science). I earned my PhD in Climate Physics and Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) with Ron Prinn and my BS in Chemistry from the California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo.