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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Soil organic matter is a massive storehouse for carbon, as well as a key regulator of nutrient cycling and soil quality in terrestrial ecosystems, yet ecology lacks a full understanding of the controls on stabilization and breakdown of soil organic matter. Two sets of competing theories underlie models that adequately predict site-specific dynamics, but result in different sets of predictions about the response of soil organic matter to perturbations. Cross-site synthesis of long-term, studies, particularly those incorporating experimental perturbations, provides an opportunity to evaluate these theories under varying conditions of climate, biological community, and topography, among other factors. This working group is synthesizing soil organic matter data across 15 LTER sites and also includes data and participants from Critical Zone Observatory (CZO) sites, Detrital Input and Removal Treatments (DIRT) Network, and Nutrient Network (NutNET). The group’s goal is to refine and evaluate soil organic matter stabilization theories and to produce a dataset that encompasses the impact of experimental manipulations on soil organic matter at different sites.

Working Group Participants

Principal Investigator(s)

William R. Wieder

Project Dates

Start: January 1, 2017

End: April 30, 2019



Sara G. Baer
Southern Illinois University
Ford Ballantyne
University of Georgia
Asmeret Berhe
University of California, Merced
Sharon Billings
University of Kansas
Laurel M. Brigham
University of Colorado, Boulder
Stephany Chacon
Oregon State University
Stevan Earl
Long Term Ecological Research (LTER)/Central Arizona-Phoenix (CAP)
Jennifer M. Fraterrigo
University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
Katerina Georgiou
University of California, Berkeley
Stuart Grandy
University of New Hampshire
Melannie Hartman
Colorado State University
Sarah E. Hobbie
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
Chris Johnson
Syracuse University
Emily Kyker-Snowman
University of New Hampshire
Kate Lajtha
Oregon State University
Rebecca Lybrand
Oregon State University
Avni Malhotra
Stanford University
Jessica A. Moore
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Knute Nadelhoffer
University of Michigan
Derek Pierson
Oregon State University
Craig Rasmussen
University of Arizona
Whendee L. Silver
University of California, Berkeley
Benjamin Sulman
Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Xanthe Walker
Northern Arizona University
Samantha Weintraub
National Ecological Observatory Network, Inc. (NEON)
William R. Wieder
University of Colorado, Boulder


  1. Journal Article / 2021

    Soil organic carbon is not just for soil scientists: measurement recommendations for diverse practitioners

  2. Journal Article / 2021

    Divergent controls of soil organic carbon between observations and process-based models

  3. Journal Article / 2019

    The landscape of soil carbon data: Emerging questions, synergies and databases

  4. Journal Article / 2020

    SOils DAta Harmonization database (SoDaH): an open-source synthesis of soil data from research networks version 1.0. Earth System Science Data Discussion

  5. Presentations / 2021

    Advancing soil organic matter research: synthesizing multi-scale observations, manipulations & models

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