Welcome to the Houlton lab! Please explore the links for information about our research activities and achievements. Please feel free to contact Ben at bzhoulton ‘at’ ucdavis ‘dot’ edu with any queries.
Houlton group, 2015-2016. Left to right: Pawlok Dass, Scott Mitchell, Katy Dynarski, Rebecca Walker, Benjamin Houlton, Eriko Murata, Rafaela Lins
- 12/15, Led by former graduate student Dr. Alison Marklien, the Houlton lab team published a paper on global nutrient mineralization of nitrogen and phosphorus from forest litter in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography. The research demonstrates that the nitrogen and phosporus cycles are stronlgy influenced by plant nutrient contents, with evidence for widespread phosphorus limitation of microbial decomposition in lowland tropical forests.
- 12/15, Ben was involved in a new study, published in "Scientific Reports" and cited by the Biology Faculty of 1000 for scientific impact. The analysis, developed when Dr. Wendy Huang visited the Houlton group, shows that carbon uptake in the terrestrial biosphere will be limited by nutrients, particlarly nitrogen. This result based on a global data synthesis has implications for the future of the carbon sink on land and the capacity for ecosystems to prevent human carbon dioxide emissions from warming the climate.
- 12/15, Ben, Joy, Sara, Katy and Scott presented their findings at the AGU meeting in San Francisco. It was an exceptional meeting with over 24,000 participants from all aspects of the earth and planetary sciences.
- 11/15, Ben has been named Associate Director of the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment. Ben will be leading the new strategic vision for the Muir Institute, which looks to intergrate the full pipeline of environmental sustainability - discovery, innovation, and novel solutions. Some of the key themes moving forward will involve the development of a "climate commons" for UC Davis, bringing activities from all colleges and professional schools together. Another furtile nexus involves the human behavioral sciences and the environment, an interface that is essential to society's future. In addition, the Muir Institute will be looking to enhance its local reach statewide and envision global partnerships to develop a focus on key international issues facing people, climate, and the environment. Stay tuned for more!
- 10/15, Rafaela Lins, a doctoral student working on forests in Brazil, will be visiting the Houlton lab for several months. Rafaela is interested in nutrient and carbon cycling in pristine vs. human altered tropical forests. In addition, Eriko Murata is visiting from Japan and is working in collaboration with the group on developing a new way to trace nitrogen oxides from natural and human sources into the air we breathe. This work has implications for understanding the human health risks of nitrogen use for food production.
- 9/15, Congratulations to Dr. Joy Winbourne for completing her doctoral dissertation. Joy's research focused on the biogeochemistry of poorly studied tropical rainforests in the Maya Mountains of Belize. Joy discovered new, fascinating linkages between iron and the nitrogen cycle, with implications for biodiversity conservation and the capacity for tropical forests to absorb CO2 emissions. Joy will be pursuing a postdoctoral position at Brown University and will continue to explore tropical forests, this time the substantially altered Atlantic forests in Brazil. I am so proud of Dr. Winbourne!
- 8/15, Joy and Katy presented their research findings to the Ecologial Society of America at the annual meeting held in Baltimore, MD.
- 8/15, Learn about how our new global nitrogen tracking scheme is being used to improve climate change forecasts for the IPCC here.
- 5/15, Tracing nitrogen's journey through the climate system, our work highlighted in "Futurity".