The CCSI Lunch Series in Nutrient Cycling continues on Monday, October 23, with Avni Malhotra. The title of her talk is “Predictors of litter decomposition across a heterogeneous permafrost thaw gradient”.
Short description: Permafrost peatlands have sequestered vast amounts of soil carbon over the Holocene, in part, due to slow rates of decomposition. In ice-rich peatlands, permafrost thaw introduces high spatial variability in environmental conditions, nutrient availability and plant community composition (substrate), all of which may affect litter decomposition rates in different ways. The resulting decomposition rates and implications to carbon storage are unclear. Can the existing conceptual frameworks of organic matter decomposition and its controls be applied across a heterogeneous thaw gradient? I will present rates and variability in litter decomposition and its site-level predictors from the Stordalen peatland in northern Sweden.
Avni is a post-doctoral research associate in the Environmental Sciences Division and the Climate Change Science Institute. Avni Malhotra completed her B.Sc. from York University, Toronto, where, through an undergraduate project in Churchill, Manitoba, she had her first experience of northern ecosystem research. Since then she continues to be fascinated by the biogeochemistry and ecology of northern ecosystems. She completed a master’s degree in Biology at Villanova University where she studied the effects of oil sands development on peatland carbon balance in northern Alberta, Canada. Her doctoral research at McGill University focused on ecosystem structure-function links in peatlands. As part of this research, she studied the effect of permafrost thaw on the link between peatland structure and carbon dioxide and methane fluxes. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Avni is studying fine-root dynamics within the SPRUCE and MOFLUX projects.
As always, the talk will be in room F119 building 4500N.