The University of Arizona
SWES dept logo Environmental Biogeochemistry Group Sabino Canyon in fall color
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science

Research Project:

Aluminum Control of Organic Carbon Cycling in Temperate Forest Ecosystems

The release of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from forest floor material constitutes a significant flux of C to the mineral soil in temperate forest ecosystems, with estimates on the order of 120 to 500 kg ha-1 y-1. Interaction of DOM with minerals and metals results in sorptive fractionation and stabilization of OM within the soil profile. In particular, aluminum (Al), which derives from crustal rock, has been implicated recently as exerting significant control over soil C cycling in a range of ecosystem types, but the underlying mechanisms of stabilization - which involve tight coupling among chemical, mineralogical and microbiological processes - are not well known. In this work, we are exploring the extent to which Al-DOM complexation impacts the physical and chemical properties of DOM and, in turn, its sorption and biodegradation in soils.

Group Contacts:
Jon Chorover, Angélica Vazquez-Ortega, and Mary Kay Amistadi  


Dr. Craig Rasmussen (PI, University of Arizona)
Dr. Egbert Schwartz (Northern Arizona University)


Funding Source:

National Science Foundation  

Selected Project References (click here for full publication list):


Temperate forest  

Updated November 18, 2010

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