Novus Scientist Exchange Program Site Visits: Drs. Brian Buma and Rebecca Barnes

The Novus RCN is pleased to report on the fifth of our eight Novus SEP site visits! In June 2015, Dr. Brian Buma (University of Alaska, Southeast) visited Dr. Rebecca Barnes (Colorado College).

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Dr. Brian Buma (left) and Dr. Rebecca Barnes (right) enjoying field work

The project, titled “Bioavailability of soil carbon in a complex, multiple disturbance environment” focused on using charcoal records to rebuild carbon cycle responses to compound and overlapping disturbances, increased disturbance rates, and warming temperatures. The project focused on sites in the Colorado subalpine forests which have experienced severe fires, blowdown events, and logging, singly or in combination with each other. As an added benefit, these sites already had long-term soil temperature, biogeochemical surveys, and regeneration data over the last decade to support this work.

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Field site at Routt National Forest

This collaboration functioned as a ‘dual exchange’ visit in which both host and awardee planned to exchange methodological expertise. During the visit, Dr. Buma instructed Dr. Barnes’ lab in the protocols for quantitatively sampling above-ground biomass, coarse woody debris, and soil characteristics and Dr. Barnes illustrated the protocols for soil incubation experiments and black carbon digestion. Field data collection was performed for numerous low-elevation sites, with plans for additional data collection later this season as snow melts in higher elevation sites, and in the summer of 2016 to build a chronosequence of carbon stock recovery from and resilience to fire. Results of the project will be written up for publication, and used as preliminary data for a National Science Foundation or Fire Program funding proposal between the collaborators. Results may also be presented at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

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Dr. Brian Buma, Dr. Rebecca Barnes, and students in the Barnes lab collect field data in the Routt National Forest

In her interaction report, Dr. Barnes stated that the SEP site visit ‘was really great for both my students and me to have Brian in the lab and field to talk science with.’ Dr. Buma stated he was ‘very happy with the experience’ and said ‘the program provided the opportunity to gain training in a related but very different set of laboratory skills and setup and a nice collaboration.”

The Novus RCN is pleased at yet another successful visit, and we wish the team luck on their future paper(s) and proposal(s)! Keep an eye out for talks on this work at the upcoming AGU meeting in December!

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