• Soil degradation in South Kivu, eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

Research in the Spencer biogeochemistry laboratory spans the fields of oceanography, hydrology, soil science and organic geochemistry and addresses important biogeochemical questions in many different areas of carbon cycling and Earth system science. A major research focus is examining how anthropogenic impacts such as climate change, land-use change, and combustion of fossil fuels are impacting the carbon cycle, particularly the movement of carbon between reservoirs. Current research primarily examines controls on the export, processing and fate of organic matter at the land-ocean interface with a specific focus on globally significant vulnerable organic carbon pools (e.g. Arctic permafrost and tropical forest ecosystems). Research in the laboratory applies a diverse array of analytical, modeling and experimental techniques to answer hypothesis-driven questions. Commonly used techniques include spectrophotometric analyses, elemental and biochemical compositions and stable and radioisotopes to characterize organic matter sources, degradation histories and to delineate organic matter dynamics in a range of environments from soils and glaciers through rivers and estuaries and into the ocean.