Carbon Balance in Warming and Drying Tundra
Field manager and team member Elizabeth Webb will be presenting her work on the expedition during the PolarTREC professional development online course! The event is scheduled for 29 March 2012. The event starts at 3pm Alaska Daylight Time [4pm PDT, 5pm MDT, 6pm CDT, 7pm EDT].
Meet the Team
Teacher - John Wood
John Wood teaches middle school science at Talbert Middle School in Fountain Valley, California. I am so happy and proud of our district and students. I have been given the opportunity to visit and speak at every school in our district and I continue to be amazed at the positive response from the kids! They are excited to learn about the polar regions and the science that is being conducted there. I feel it is critical to our future that these children become motivated in understanding how the world works and the challenges they will face in the near future. The students have the imaginations and the energy needed to tackle STEM issues in an ever shrinking world. My goal is to connect my district and community with the current issues in cryosphere research that already affects us all.
Being able to teach children current, real-life science and make those connections between education and research has been a wonderful experience for me. By sharing the Erebus expedition while actually living and working on an active volcano has excited my teaching and my students. And then being fortunate enough to skype with students from the IPY Oslo Conference the following year really started a continuous dialog around our community that I am working to expand.
When I'm not teaching, I enjoy competing in triathlons and marathons and spending time with my wife and two daughters.
Researcher - Ted Schuur
Ted Schuur is an Associate Professor of Ecosystem Ecology within the Department of Botany and Zoology at the University of Florida. His research focuses on the interaction between carbon cycling in terrestrial ecosystems and climate change. Dr. Schuur is particularly interested in the exchange of carbon between plants, soils, and the atmosphere, and the response to changes in climate and disturbance regimes.
Researcher - Susan Natali
Sue Natali is an assistant scientist at Wood Hole Research Center (WHRC). Her research focuses on the interactions and feedbacks between plant and soil communities and their environment and seeks to better understand the impacts of environmental change on ecological processes and biogeochemical cycles. Dr. Natali conducts her research in boreal and tundra ecosystems in Alaska and Siberia. Learn more about Dr. Natali and her work at the WHRC webpage.
Where are They?
The research team will be based at a remote cabin near the small town of Healy, Alaska, about 100 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska. They will travel via four-wheel drive road to various sample sites in the boreal forest and foothills of the Alaska Range. The research sites are within the framework of the Carbon in Permafrost Experimental Heating Research (CiPEHR), an ecosystem warming experiment located in Alaska’s discontinuous permafrost zone.
What are they Doing?
The carbon cycle is the means by which carbon is moved between the world’s soils, oceans, atmosphere, and living organisms. Northern tundra ecosystems play a key role in the carbon cycle because the cold, moist, and frozen soils trap rotting organic material in the soils. This very slowly decaying organic material has caused carbon to build up in the arctic during the past thousands of years. Now warming in the arctic is slowly causing the tundra to become warmer and dryer. As a result, the trapped carbon leaves the soil as carbon dioxide and goes into the atmosphere.
The research team will be studying changes to the carbon cycle in northern forests by setting up experiments that copy the setting of warmer and dryer tundra. When they arrive at the field site they will be removing snow from the research sites, constructing new warming chambers, installing water wells, and setting up carbon dioxide measuring system. After the set-up, the team will begin taking field measurements of carbon dioxide exchange between the soil and atmosphere, permafrost thaw depth, and water table depth. In addition, they will take samples of plant and soil and study the plant life cycles, also known as phenology.
The experiment is part of the Carbon in Permafrost Experimental Heating Research (CiPEHR) project. The team hopes that the results of their research will be helpful in predicting how the warming and drying tundra will affect the carbon balance, and how the release of additional carbon dioxide will affect global climate change.
|Talbert Students Taking Virtual Arctic Trip||7 May 2011||The local on-line newsletter interviewed Mr. Wood over the phone and talks about the upcoming...||Article|
|John Wood and Carbon Balance in Warming and Drying Tundra||16 May 2011||PolarConnect event with John Wood and Dr. Sue Natali participating in the Carbon Balance in Warming...||Event|