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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

Keyword: ecology

A big thank you goes out to Mr. Rob Sabo for taking time out of his busy schedule to share his knowledge of Ecology Research with our students through our Undergraduate Seminar Series! Mr. Sabo presented his research to a sellout crowd on the third floor of the Coad Science building titled “Hydrologic and Biogeochemical controls of atmospheric nitrate export in a temperate forest watershed.” Mr. Sabo a proud Mount alumnus and current Ph.D. student for the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. His research primarily deals with nitrogen flux in forested and mixed land use ecosystems in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. He has received multiple grants and fellowships to aid in his education and research including an EPA STAR Fellowship ($144,000), USGS Summer Fellowship ($6,600), and a National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant ($5,000). In addition to his graduate research activities, Robert is currently implementing a small watershed monitoring network to afford undergraduates greater research opportunities in the environmental sciences. Robert currently resides in Frostburg, MD with his wife (another proud Mount almnus), and their two year old daughter.

Presentation Description: How has acid rain impacted the N cycle in temperate forests? Why are stream nitrate concentrations in predominantly forested watersheds declining throughout the mid-Atlantic? Forests cover about 66% of the land area in the Chesapeake Bay watershed and provide clean water to downstream communities. Understanding the hydrology and biogeochemistry of these ecosystems will be instrumental in accomplishing Bay clean-up goals and ensuring the proper management/preservation of forests. The emergence of long-term datasets and the development of new stable isotopic approaches now offer insights into the storage, transformation, and transport of N in forests. These findings will allow the development of mechanistic models that predict future forest responses to acid rain, disturbances, and climate change. 

Students in Dr. Simmons’ Ecology class this week are measuring the amount of carbon dioxide that is being emitted by the forest soils up on College Mountain. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that affects global climate change and on a global basis forest soils are a main contributor to carbon dioxide emissions.

 
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