Andrew Hursh

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Graduate Program: 
Resource Conservation
University of Montana
Research/Scholarly Work: 
Soil respiration is a major component of the carbon cycle. The flux of carbon dioxide from soils is a major source of this gas to the atmosphere. This respiration is performed both autotrophically by plant roots and heterotrophically by microbes which decompose organic matter. Climate ecologists attempt to model global movements of gases like carbon dioxide, and mechanisms like heterotrophic respiration need to be better understood for these models to be accurate on such large scales. Environmental factors such as temperature and soil moisture affect rates of heterotrophic respiration, yet the parameters of these controls remain poorly understood. My research will focus on the dynamics of soil respiration during changing seasonal cycles and focus in particular on winter respiration and that which occurs beneath snow. As the climate changes, relative proportions snow and rain are shifting. Earlier spring melting, autumn rain-on-snow, and a diminished insulating snowpack will all affect soil respiration. Ideally manipulative studies of these effects will elucidate some of the controls on soil respiration at a local landscape scale, and can be squared with or better inform current global models.


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Montana State University
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The Universityi of Montana

The University of Montana
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