Landscape Legacy and the Biogeochemical Consequences of Disturbance

Mon, Nov 5, 4:10 pm
Speaker Name: 
Stephanie Ewing
Montana State University - Bozeman
Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

Assistant Professor of Soil Biogeochemistry 
Montana State University Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

Dr. Ewing received her PhD in Soil Biogeochemistry (2007) from the Department of Environmental Science, Policy & Management at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been with Montana State University since 2010.  Her dissertation work investigated soil processes in the Atacama Desert of northern Chile.  Her post-doctoral work addressed atmospheric contaminant transport over the Pacific, and effects of permafrost thaw on carbon and water dynamics in the Yukon River Basin.  She is currently investigating effects of land use on nitrate levels in shallow aquifers of central Montana.

Research focus: I study global biogeochemical cycles as revealed by soil processes at the landscape scale, including atmospheric deposition to soils, disturbance gradients, and the contribution of weathering processes to surface water chemistry in small catchments and groundwater. I have been known to exploit novel isotopic tools in order to address interesting questions in these areas.

Question and Answer:

1.     What led you to the research you are engaged in?

Curiosity about how soils work, in response to growing awareness of how profoundly human activity has changed the role of soils in the Earth system globally, through transformation of atmospheric chemistry, resource extraction, and food production.

2.     Which other disciplines have you collaborated with?

Disciplinary categorizations are changing and are not necessarily helpful when the quest is to advance understanding of biogeochemistry, a “discipline” borne of multidisciplinary or transdisciplinary thinking. I have worked with individuals who might consider their disciplinary focus to be some combination of geomorphology, geochemistry, sedimentology, hydrogeology, hydrology, ecology, atmospheric chemistry, microbiology, and/or pedology..

3.     What do you find most rewarding about collaborations?

Renewing the excitement of scientific insight and discovery, and sharing recognition or revelation of the profound beauty of the natural world.

4.     What do you think is the greatest scientific challenge for the next 15-20 years?

Scientific illiteracy on the part of the general public.

5.     How do you see the IoE making a difference in this or other scientific challenges?

It is of critical importance to foster scholarship, inquiry, and constructive critical thinking that seeks to advance the body of scientific knowledge through transcendent discovery.

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