Karin Block, PhD
Associate Professor, Dept. of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College of New York - CUNY
“The feedback between clay minerals and microbes: implications for the degradation of organic matter in soils”
Soils are the second largest reservoir of carbon in our planet. In the face of continued global warming, soils represent a potential source of carbon that can further exacerbate climate change. However, they are also a means by which climate change can be mitigated through sequestration. The amount of time that carbon can persist in soil is governed by the surface properties of reactive minerals and the type of organic matter sorbed to those surfaces. These processes are largely mediated by soil microbes through the decomposition of plant litter, the recycling of organic matter on mineral surfaces, and subsequent transport in soil pore water. In this talk, I will discuss the results of a series of experiments aimed at zeroing in on the effect of the microbe-mineral interaction on the composition of microbially produced organic matter. I will wrap up the talk by discussing how these interactions might affect mineral properties and what the implications might be for the residence time of carbon in soils.
Dr. Block is an Associate Research Professor in Marine Geology and Geophysics who is of Black Puerto Rican heritage. Her research presentation will begin at noon March 5, followed by time for students and faculty to ask questions. There will also be an extra session from 4 to 5 p.m. where underrepresented students can talk more informally with her about her career path, and where she also can offer advice about navigating higher education as a woman of color.