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?
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-APR. A big month for our lab: Ashley defends her Ph.D. dissertation! Stay tuned. And check out recent papers – now published advance online – by Ashley and Tom in Journal of Ecology and Global Change Biology – showing how disturbances affect both the structure and function of soil microbial communities in relation to carbon cycle and decomposition dynamics.