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Scholars Day 2008, Wednesday, April 9

Carbon Cycling in Recovering Agricultural Systems

The extent to which humans have altered global carbon cycling and the effects believed to be associated with these changes have stimulated research on carbon cycling in the environment. Changes in land use, specifically the clearing of plant communities for agriculture and subsequent abandonment and forest succession, has had a significant impact on C cycling. In this study, I compared multiple sites in Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge that included grasslands, early successional shrublands, late successional shrublands, and early successional forests to determine the C fluxes. At each site, above-ground biomass, below-ground biomass, soil respiration, and soil C content were measured. I hypothesized that soil respiration would decrease over this successional sequence, below-ground biomass would be greatest in grasslands, above-ground biomass would increase with each successional stage, and the C content of soils would correlate negatively with soil respiration. Confirmation of our hypotheses would lend support to the idea that vegetation change controls C sequestration in the environment.

Presenter: Curtis Fry (Undergraduate Student)
Topic: Environmental Science
Location: 104 Edwards
Time: 1:45 pm (Session III)