The Biogeochemistry Lab studies element cycling as a means of understanding the responses of ecosystems to abiotic stressors such as elevated CO2, sea level rise and flooding.
We take a holistic approach to these issues by considering the responses of both plants and microbes, the dominant organisms regulating the capture and release of energy in organic compounds.
Within the general theme of plant-microbe interactions, our lab is increasingly focused on anaerobic carbon metabolism and microbial community ecology. Most of our research concerns wetland ecosystems.
Dr. Patrick Megonigal
PO Box 28
Edgewater, Maryland 21037
» Curriculum Vitae
In the News
The DIG IT! The Secrets of Soil exhibit, curated by SERC's Pat Megonigal, has opened at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture in Spokane, Washington. Learn more about this traveling exhibit in an interview that aired on KPBX radio on 9 Feb 2012.
»Take a short video tour of this educational exhibit.
Pat Megonigal and colleagues Hanna Poffenbarger and Brian Needelman of the University of Maryland found what could be the critical salinity for a marsh to go from a greenhouse gas source to a sink: 18 parts per thousand, or about half as salty as sea water. Wetlands.
»Read more at Shorelines, SERC's blog.
SERC Biogeochemistry scientists find excess nitrogen favors plants that respond poorly to rising CO2— the experiment was conducted at the Smithsonian Global Change Research Wetland, and the resulting paper is featured in the July 1, 2010 issue of Nature.
»Find out more at the SI Newsdesk
NSF long-term research in environmental biology (LTREB) grant awarded to fund SERC research site for 5 years — LTREB: Twenty-three years of tidal marsh response to environmental change.
Hanna J. Poffenbarger, Brian A. Needelman and J. Patrick Megonigal. Salinity Influence on Methane Emissions from Tidal Marshes. Wetlands. [Abstract]
Langley, JA, KL McKee, DR Cahoon, JA Cherry, JP Megonigal (2009). Elevated CO2 stimulates marsh elevation gain, counterbalancing sea-level rise. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. [PDF Eprint]
Call to Collaborators
The Smithsonian's Global Change Research Wetland welcomes collaborators who seek to advance our understanding of how coastal wetlands will respond to a changing planet. The facilities include an on-site lab, extensive boardwalks and electrical service throughout the marsh. To inquire about research partnerships, please email Smithsonian senior scientist Pat Megonigal.
»Download pdf brochure about the Global Change Research Wetland