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Human activities are altering global carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles at an unprecedented rate.  It is unclear how significant changes in global elemental cycles will affect ecosystem functions, such as primary productivity or C storage over the long-term.  My research aims to understand how plant-microbe interactions mediate ecosystem-specific responses to global climate change.  This research connects microbial processes to ecosystem functions to yield new insights into microbial ecology and elemental cycling.  Research in my laboratory focuses on three main question

Karhu 2014 Nature: Temperature sensitivity of soil respiration rates enhanced by microbial community response

Soils store about four times as much carbon as plant biomass1, and
soil microbial respiration releases about 60 petagrams of carbon per
year to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide2. Short-term experiments
have shown that soil microbial respiration increases exponentially
with temperature3. This information has been incorporated into
soil carbon and Earth-system models, which suggest that warminginduced
increases in carbon dioxide release from soils represent an

Kirsten Hofmockel

Kirsten Hofmockel is an associate professor in the Ecology, Evolution and Organismal Biology Department at Iowa State University.  She directs the Microbial Ecology Laboratory, which focuses on connecting microscale mechanism to ecosystem-scale biogeochemical processes.
[email protected]


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