Lateral transport of SOM through landscapes

Prof. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe1

1University Of California, Merced, Merced, United States

Most of the earth’s terrestrial ecosystem is composed of sloping landscapes, where soil organic matter dynamics is partly controlled by the mass movement events that laterally distribute topsoil. Accurate estimation of the global soil carbon stock or the potential of soils to sequester atmospheric carbon dioxide are complicated by the effects of soil redistribution on both net primary productivity and decomposition. In this presentation, I will discuss: (1) why and how soil erosion can constitute a C sink; and how soil erosion is being considered within the context of global climate models; (2) the role of soil erosion on determining spatial distribution and stocks of SOM, stability, and stabilization  mechanisms; (3) emerging understanding of the role of soil erosion in soil nitrogen dynamics; and I will conclude the presentation by highlighting remaining knowledge gaps in our understanding of the  role of soil erosion in  soil phosphorus dynamics, and SOM dynamics in temperate and arctic ecosystems.

Biography: Dr. Asmeret Asefaw Berhe is a Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry at the Department of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of California, Merced. Prof.

Berhe received her Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry from the University of California (UC), Berkeley; M. Sc. in Resource Development (Political Ecology) from Michigan State University, and B. Sc. in Soil and Water Conservation from University of Asmara, Eritrea.

Dr. Berhe was a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, and a NASA Earth System Science Graduate fellow at UC Berkeley.

Prof. Berhe’s research focuses on biogeochemical cycling of essential elements (esp. carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) and furthering our understanding of how the soil system regulates atmospheric climate.

Prof. Berhe is a recipient of several awards and honors including the National Science Foundation’s CAREER award, the Young Investigator Award from Sigma Xi, the Hellman Family Foundations award for early career faculty, and is a member of the inaugural class of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine’s New Voices in Science, Engineering, and Medicine. Prof. Berhe is the Chair of the US National Committee on Soil Science at the National Academies; serves in the Leadership board of the Earth Science Women’s Network; and currently is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences

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