The mathematics of mud: Scaling complexity in soil carbon models


11:45 am-12:45 pm
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202 Particle Science & Technology Bldg
202 Particle Science & Tech Bldg
Gainesville, FL 32611


Soil carbon dynamics have been identified as one of the major
uncertainties in future climate scenarios. Soil carbon models strive to
describe CO2 emissions which are the result of an incredibly rich
interplay between biological, chemical, hydrological, and geophysical
processes. Current Earth system models show a large range (-70 Pg-C to
250 Pg-C) in the projection of soil carbon stock shift over the 21st
century. Reducing model uncertainty requires both better
parameterization via model-data integration and new structural
developments to better describe the underlying processes. Capturing
the right level of process complexity for a given question at a specific
spatial-temporal scale requires a deep understanding of the component
processes and their mathematical representations.
Model complexity can be reduced to enable simulation analysis or
enriched to capture new understanding and measurements.
Specifically, reducing the complexity of traditional soil decomposition
models can: 1) isolate drivers of soil carbon projections in Earth system
models, 2) be used to modify simulation results post-hoc to incorporate
new processes (nutrient limitations on net primary production), and 3)
parameter constraints (soil temperature response). Complimentary to
this, enriching process complexity of soil carbon models linking mineralorganic
interaction, chemical recalcitrance, and microbial physiology
can be used to target future experiments by identifying parameter
uncertainties and how these uncertainties affect the carbon cycling.
In this talk we’ll be exploring soils, as they sit at the intersection of
biology, chemistry, geology, hydrology, mathematics, and informatics.

Dr. Todd-Brown is a computational
biogeochemist who uses mathematics
and computers to understand how soil
breathes. She has been a Distinguished
Linus Pauling Postdoctoral Fellow at the
Pacific Northwest National Lab, a United
States Department of Energy laboratory
in Richland, Washington (2015-2018),
and a Postdoctoral Researcher at the
University of Oklahoma (2014). She
received her PhD from the University of
California, Irvine from the Earth System
Science Department. Dr. Todd-Brown
also holds a Bachelor of Science from
Harvey Mudd College in Claremont,
California in Mathematics and she has
worked as a software developer for
bioinformatics tools at Massachusetts
General Hospital in Boston.


Hosted by

Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastrue & Environment (ESSIE) and Howard T. Odum Center for Wetlands