KNOXVILLE—Carbon dioxide is key to life on Earth, but too much of the good thing can overheat the Earth’s surface and hurt the very things it supports. Thus, understanding how carbon cycles through the atmosphere is crucial to predicting its effects.
A University of Tennessee professor in Knoxville has received more than $880,000 from the U.S. Department of Energy to investigate often-overlooked carbon cycle players.
Aimee Classen, associate professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and her team, which includes Oak Ridge National Laboratory staff members, will examine factors that influence carbon cycling below the ground and are not included in today’s carbon-cycle models.
“We know that tiny things that live in soil, like fungi, can regulate carbon processes in forests. However, our current soil models don’t consider what role fungal and plant root activity may play in soil carbon dynamics. Our project aims to fill this knowledge gap,” Classen said. [Read more…]