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Climate change has the potential to have impacts on essentially every ecosystem and community on the planet. In order to best predict and prepare for these impacts, scientists are working hard to create global models that can predict future climate.
Amongst the different models, there is still a large variation in predictions, in part due to large uncertainties in the controls and dynamics of certain greenhouse gases. Gases like methane and nitrous oxide create a stronger greenhouse gas effect than carbon dioxide and are also being influenced by human activities; yet there's still a lot that we don't know about their dynamics. A major reason for this is that these gases are generally created or taken up by microbes, but yet we ultimately need to scale the dynamics of these gases up to a global scale!
Here at Cornell the goal of our Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) is to bring together graduate students and faculty working on these different scales, from microbial scale to the landscape to the globe, to improve our ability to model these greenhouse gases, and thus better predict climate change.
This video presents research to better understand fluxes of nitrous oxide. Denitrification is the dominant process responsible for creation of nitrous oxide and involves a complex microbial pathway regulated by many environmental factors; thus we are trying to better understand it using a combination of microbial research, measurements made on a local farm, and landscape modeling.
This student video was one of the 2013 IGERT Video and Poster Competitions winning submissions.