Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory


Study shows nitrogen deposition in Europe and North America is cause for highly acidic soil

Field researchersIncreasing levels of nitrogen deposition will push soils to a toxic level of acidification in which iron becomes more soluble and plant growth is reduced, according to a study published online in Nature Geoscience.

A long history of human-influenced nitrogen deposition associated with industry and agriculture has left soils in the Western Tatra Mountains of Slovakia highly acidic.

The authors of a new study, including NREL and U.S. Geological Survey scientist Jill Baron, reveal that increasing the nitrogen load in the region triggers the release of soluble iron into alpine grassland soils. This iron release is indicative of extreme soil acidification, equivalent to conditions seen in soils after acid mine drainage.

Read more | Nov 10, 2008

Study helps clarify role of soil microbes in global warming

BacteriaA new study by a team of scientists, including a Colorado State University researcher, shows that while the rate of decomposition increases for a brief period in response to warmer temperatures, elevated levels of decomposition don't persist.

"It is often said that in a handful of dirt, there are somewhere around 10,000 species and millions of individual bacteria and fungi," said study co-author Matthew Wallenstein, a research scientist at Colorado State University's Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. "Our findings add to the understanding of how complex these systems are and the role they play in feedbacks associated with climate change."

Read more | Oct 28, 2008

New School of Global Environmental Sustainability at Colorado State

Ecosystems cyclingColorado State University on Tuesday unveiled plans for the state's first School of Global Environmental Sustainability to streamline the university's internationally recognized environmental research and to prepare students for the growing "green" workforce.

The School of Global Environmental Sustainability is an umbrella organization that encompasses all environmental education and research at the university. World-leading environmental researcher Diana Wall will serve as founding director of the school. Over the next year, Wall will form advisory committees to help create curriculum and programs for the school, which could start offering new courses as early as 2010.

Read more | Jul 21, 2008

Robin Reid name directory of the Center for Collaborative Conservation

Robin ReidAlthough Robin Reid spent 18 years - more than a third of her life - in Africa, she recently traveled thousands of miles back to her alma mater to begin a new career.

Reid, who joined Colorado State on Jan. 1 as director of the new Center for Collaborative Conservation, admits it was difficult to leave Africa, a place of her heart. She was ecosystem scientist and global project leader at the International Livestock Research Institute in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to her current position, Reid has been a senior research scientist at Colorado State's Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory since 2002.

Read more | Jul 02, 2008

NREL hosts international conference on effects of climate change on soil biodiversity, June 4-6

Soil Conference LogoColorado State University is hosting an international conference this summer to address how critical soil biodiversity patterns are altered under climate change. "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Soil Biodiversity: Predicting Soil Biodiversity Patterns under Climate Change" will be held June 4-6 on CSU's campus.

Read more | May 25, 2008