Joost Van Haren
Assistant Research Professor, Biosphere 2 and Honors College
My research focuses on understanding biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and water in particular in tropical ecosystems. Tropical ecosystems are among the most dynamic ecosystems that have strong feedbacks to human disturbance. Deforestation and climate change both affect the biogeochemical cycles in tropical forests and we mainly measure greenhouse gas fluxes and couple these to biological activity. Currently, we work on understanding carbon and water cycling in tropical peatlands, more specifically, methane emissions from these ecosystems and also how land-use change affects methane fluxes and the microbial community responsible for the methane fluxes.
In Biosphere 2 we use both the tropical rainforest and the LEO hillslopes to better understand the carbon and water cycling in these disparate ecosystems. In LEO, we look at the carbon cycling and how weathering is affected by precipitation events. In the rainforest, we particularly look at how individual species and the whole ecosystem respond to changes in temperature and precipitation. During drought experiments we work together with Dr. Jeffrey McDonnell to determine where tropical trees get their water from and how this changes with rainfall events.