Research in the Agroecology Group focuses on the feedbacks between ecosystem management options (e.g., tillage, cover cropping, green manuring, sustainable farming, and grazing), global change (e.g., elevated CO2 and climate change), and biogeochemical cycling. More specifically, we study the complex interactions between plants (e.g., diversity, nutrient uptake, and root growth), soil (e.g, structure, texture and mineralogy) and, soil biota (e.g. fungi, bacteria, and earthworms), and the carbon and nitrogen cycles in agricultural, grassland, and forest ecosystems. Our general approach is to integrate field sampling, laboratory analyses, and mathematical modeling to investigate whole system dynamics.
We conduct our experimental work at both the plot and landscape levels and, subsequently integrate this with modeling to identify gaps in our knowledge, generate testable hypotheses, and underpin the mechanistic bases of the models. For example, ecosystem and economic models are used to predict the biophysical and economic feasibility of greenhouse gas mitigation by agriculture at a regional scale.
Our project sites span from small growers’ fields to intensively-farmed production systems to agricultural research stations. Although our research and collaborations are largely based in the U.S., we are also involved in a suite of international research projects in Africa, Europe, and Central and South America.