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Research interests: • Sediment and soil biogeochemistry, particularly nitrogen cycling, and the regulation of biogeochemical processes by environmental factors • The environmental consequences of human actions, and how the dynamic relationship between humans and ecosystems may change with climate change and human land use • Microbial ecology, and the relationship between microbial community structure and biogeochemical processes
February 2017 - present
October 2013 - March 2016
Potato Research Institute
- Effect of climate change on winter N cycling and microbial communities in agricultural ecosystems
- Funded by a NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology, I am conducting field and lab studies to examine the effects of climate change, particularly snow cover, on N losses and microbial communities in agricultural soils in winter and throughout the year.
September 2006 - May 2008
Boston University/Marine Biological Laboratory
Field of study
- Coastal ecology and biogeochemistry
In eastern Canada, climate change-related warming and increased precipitation may alter winter snow cover, with potential consequences for soil conditions, nitrogen (N) cycling, and microbes. We conducted a two-year field study aimed at determining the influence of snow removal, snow accumulation, and ambient snow in a potato-barley crop system on...
Climate change-related increases in winter temperatures and precipitation, as predicted for eastern Canada, may alter snow cover, with consequences for soil temperature and moisture, nitrogen cycling, and greenhouse gas fluxes. To assess the effects of snow depth in a humid temperate agricultural ecosystem, we conducted a two-year field study with...
Nongrowing season (NGS) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions may be significant in cold agricultural regions, but the influence of winter conditions, soil type, and fall manuring must be better documented. We monitored NGS N2O and CO2 fluxes and soil atmosphere composition from 2009 to 2013, on sandy loam and silty clay soils, with and without fall-appli...
Removal of biologically available nitrogen (N) by the microbially mediated processes denitrification and anaerobic ammonium oxidation (anammox) affects ecosystem N availability. Although few studies have examined temperature responses of denitrification and anammox, previous work suggests that denitrification could become more important than anammo...
Zebarth, B. J., Forge, T. A., Goyer, C. and Brin, L. D. 2015. Effect of soil acidification on nitrification in soil. Can. J. Soil Sci. 95: 359–363. This laboratory experiment examined the effect of elemental S-induced variation in soil pH (3.97–5.29) on nitrification enzyme activity and conversion of [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text]. Nitr...
Background/Question/Methods Agricultural ecosystems contribute the majority of global anthropogenic emissions of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide (N2O). Up to 80% of annual N2O fluxes occur during the non-growing season, often as pulses during midwinter and spring thaws. In the northeastern United States and eastern Canada, climate change may incre...
Climate change may have differing effects on microbial processes that control coastal N avail- ability. We conducted a microcosm experiment to explore effects of warming and carbon availability on nitrate reduction pathways in marine sediments. Sieved continental shelf sediments were incubated for 12 weeks under aerated seawater amended with nitrat...
Background/Question/Methods Warming ocean temperatures associated with climate change may affect biogeochemical cycling in coastal ecosystems, with consequences for ecosystem nitrogen (N) availability. In coastal sediments, denitrification and anammox (anaerobic ammonium oxidation) reduce NO3- or NO2- to N2, removing biologically available N from...
We measured denitrification and anammox potential rates in homogenized sediments over two annual cycles from two estuarine sites (Providence River estuary and Narragansett Bay) and two continental shelf sites (Block Island and Rhode Island sounds). Denitrification varied both spatially and seasonally, but anammox only varied spatially. Denitrificat...
Animals and plants in the marine intertidal zone live at the interface between terrestrial and marine environments. This zone is likely to be a sensitive indicator of the effects of climate change in coastal ecosystems, because of several key characteristics including steep environmental gradients, rapid tem-perature changes during tide transitions...
Mass balance studies conducted in the 1970s in Great Sippewissett Salt Marsh, New England, showed that fertilized plots intercepted 60 to 80% of the nitrogen (N) applied at several treatment levels every year from April to October, where interception mechanisms include plant uptake, denitriﬁcation and burial. These results pointed out that salt mar...
Studies of intertidal organisms have contributed significantly to the understanding of complex biological responses to climate change. The intense thermal stresses characteristic of rocky coastal settings facilitate rapid population shifts, causing these habitats to be especially susceptible to deviations in weather patterns. Traditional in situ me...