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:
- How do plants and soil organisms respond to environmental change?
- 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-JAN. Happy New Year! 2015 starts off with some great news for the group. Steve Wood – currently a PhD candidate at Columbia – will be joining in the fall on a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the TNC. Steve’s addition will help form a critical mass of those of us working on the importance of soil organic matter to food production and security. In addition, Dan has just had a review on temperate termite ecology and impacts accepted by Ecological Entomology and Mark and former lab members a paper in Biogeochemistry showing how historical climate shapes the functioning of microbial communities under contemporary conditions.