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Jessica Murray

Jessica is a fourth year PhD student working with Dr. John Stark.

Contact Jessica at:

Visit Dr. Stark's lab site: Stable Isotope Lab

* Cover photo by Marissa Devey



Jessica Murray research

Climate change impacts on carbon cycling in tropical Histosols

Soil is the largest terrestrial carbon sink, and soil carbon stability is of great concern in the context of climate change. A changing climate and the consequential changes in biotic environments may accelerate the decomposition of unprotected soil carbon (non mineral-bound), resulting in substantial fluxes of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the soil to the atmosphere. My research investigates how climate change may influence carbon cycling in highly organic soils that consist largely of unprotected carbon. Specifically, I have explored patterns of canopy soil (arboreal Histosols) distribution across climate gradients to understand how climate and biotic factors influence the abundance and chemical structure of canopy soil. As a follow-up, I am investigating the response of canopy soil carbon cycling and CO2 respiration to natural fluctuations in soil temperature and moisture as well as to experimental additions of nutrients and labile substrate. I was recently awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study soil carbon cycling in the Costa Rican páramo, a neotropical alpine ecosystem, in collaboration with Dr. Andrea Vincent from the University of Costa Rica.



Life Outside of USU

I like to spend time outdoors running, climbing, or camping.

Jessica Murray