I’ve just begun a new postdoctoral position at USGS in Moab, Utah. Now that I’ve drawn my Arctic project mostly to a close (a few papers still to finish up), I am really excited to shift from the tundra to the desert. Though the ecosystem is different, the nature of the project is the same as my previous work in which I have applied biogeochemical and ecophysiological methods to understand how global change is affecting ecosystems.
Here in Moab, I will be working with world renowned soil crust expert Dr. Jayne Belnap as well as my grad school friend and fellow biogeochemist Dr. Sasha Reed. We’ll be leveraging an awesome field experiment that Jayne has been running near Castle Valley, Utah for the last seven years. It’s a DOE-supported project in which they have applied warming (via infrared lamps, see above) and watering treatments to crust-dominated desert soils. It also features an automated CO2 chamber system (lower left on picture) that is producing some sweet data. They have seen some interesting results so far and I am excited to jump in and contribute to and build upon this project.
It’s fun to be back in the American West and to live in a place that my family used to go on vacation. I first rolled through Moab when I was about 10 in 1991. It’s grown since then but appears so far to be just as much fun! We’ve already been to Arches about 5 times and met lots of nice people. Should be fun!