Hi, you’ve reached the homepage of the Bradford lab group at Yale University’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies. Our research explores two main questions:

  1. How do plants and soil organisms respond to environmental change?
  2. How do these responses affect ecosystem function, especially the movement and storage of carbon in soils?

The Wordle compiles the most common words from the titles of papers we’ve published since the lab established (in 2005, then at the University of Georgia, Athens). It gives a good flavor of the topics we primarily focus on under Questions 1 & 2. Below the Wordle there’s a more detailed description of why we do what we do, and how we do it.

Why focus on carbon and ecosystems? Soils and plants store huge quantities of carbon. Disturbances that degrade ecosystems release this into the atmosphere – in forms such as carbon dioxide – contributing to our changing climate. But soils and ecosystems are much more than reservoirs for carbon – their health is directly tied to water purification, flood prevention, maintenance of biodiversity, and agricultural production. Understanding how and why plants, animals, microbes and soils respond to environmental change will therefore help us understand the consequences for human well-being, and how we might manage them.

We use experimental and observational approaches to investigate these effects of global change, both in the field and laboratory. We primarily work across forests and grasslands in the north and south of the eastern United States.

The overall goal of our research is to provide the necessary mechanistic understanding required for reliable prediction of global change impacts on ecosystems, and their likely feedbacks to the climate system.

LAB NEWS-OCT. We’re all a little shell-shocked by the media attention that the 3-trillion trees article received last month with Tom spending days and days giving interviews (see the Pubs page for a link to the paper and some of the coverage). We were brought back down to Earth a bit by sorting hundreds of litter bags from the Sweden to France climate gradient study, although Noah got to hang in Germany at the SOM5 conference and contribute to and learn about cutting edge research on soil carbon. On top of that, a number of new papers have come out in the past month, as diverse as showing effects of temperate termites on soil processes and the legacy effects of forest management on soil nitrogen cycling (congrats Ashley, Dan and Avishesh). More @bradfordlab.