The Biogeochemistry Lab studies element cycling to better understand how ecosystems respond to global changes, such as sea-level rise, nitrogen pollution, invasive species and elevated CO2.

We take a holistic approach to these issues by integrating the responses of both plants and microbes, the two dominant life forms regulating the capture and release of energy in organic compounds.

We also operate the Smithsonian's Global Change Research Wetland. The NSF-LTREB tidal marsh has operated since 1985 and is home to three long-term field manipulations of key global change factors. Major research themes include the stability of tidal wetlands to sea-level rise, regulation of methane emissions from wetlands and upland forests, and carbon sequestration in blue carbon ecosystems.

February 2 is World Wetlands Day Environmental engineer Gary Peresta has an important public service announcement.

Global Change Research Wetland

EPA Leader Gina McCarthy Visits the Global Change Research Wetland

Finding Blue Carbon in Abu Dhabi

Dr. Patrick Megonigal
Senior Scientist

Smithsonian Environmental
Research Center
PO Box 28
Edgewater, Maryland 21037
Phone: 443-482-2346
Curriculum Vitae 

In the News

Smithsonian Magazine
"For World's Wetlands, It May Be Sink or Swim. Here's Why It Matters" [article]

Bay Weekly
"Life in the Jungle"  [article]

Bryn Mawr News
"Super Weed" Yields Research and Awarding-Winning Student Presentations  [article]

"Humans Doing More Harm Than Good in Protecting Wetlands from Rising Water" [radio]

Maryland Sea Grant
"Marshes in a Changing World" [Part I] [Part II]

WYPR 88.1/NPR-Baltimore
"The Jekyll and Hyde of the Marsh" [radio]

Featured Publications

Tidal wetland stability in the face of human impacts and sea-level rise. Nature.
[Full article]

Direct and indirect effects of elevated atmospheric CO2 on net ecosystem production in a Chesapake Bay tidal wetland. Global Change Biology.

Tidal marsh plant responses to elevated CO2, nitrogen fertilization, and sea level rise. Global Change Biology.

Jack-And-Master Trait Responses to Elevated CO2 and N: A Comparison of Native and Introduced Phragmites australis. PLoS One.