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A Preliminary Investigation of Climate Change Impacts on Soil Water and Carbon Dynamics


  • Helga Van Miegroet: Associate Professor, Dept. Aquatic, Watershed and Earth Resources and Dept Forest, Range and Wildlife Sciences, College of Natural Resources
  • David Chandler: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Plants, Soils and Biometeorology, College of Agriculture
  • Michelle Baker: Assistant Professor, Dept. Biology, College of Science
  • Janis Boettinger: Associate Professor, Dept. of Plants, Soils and Biometeorology, College of Agriculture


A pilot study by an interdisciplinary team of USU scientists in hydrology (David Chandler), terrestrial biogeochemistry (Helga Van Miegroet), soil pedogenesis (Janis Boettinger), and ecosystem ecology (Michelle Baker) will be initiated at the T.W. Daniel Experimental Forest in the Bear River Range. Our objective is to investigate the effect of climate change on soil microclimate (temperature and moisture regime) and soil organic carbon dynamics (SOC distribution, quality, decomposition, leaching) in three vegetation types (conifer forest, aspen and sagebrush shrub) that are representative for the Intermountain West.

Baseline soil temperature, soil moisture distribution, and dissolved C fluxes will be measured in a total of 27 plots laid out in a randomized block design with three blocks and three treatments (control, additional summer precipitation, accelerated winter snowmelt) per vegetation type. In the first year, no snow manipulation treatment will be implemented.

This study will yield preliminary data on microclimatic, hydrological, and C responses to precipitation manipulation, and differences among vegetation types.

The project will provide an interdisciplinary research and training experience to undergraduate students while contributing to the development of the Bear River Laboratory Watershed. It will complement research and teaching activities already initiated by the collaborators at the site.


Contact Information

Helga Van Miegroet
5230 Old Main Hill
Logan, UT 84322-5230