New paper in AGU Journal of Geophysical Research: Short‐term changes in physical and chemical properties of soil charcoal support enhanced landscape mobility

In this paper we explore how charcoal physical and chemical properties contribute to greater vulnerability to physical redistribution, relative other forms of organic carbon, to enhance our understanding of charcoal's landscape residence time. 

Plain English summary: charcoal is an important natural component of soil organic carbon, and soils with more charcoal tend also to be more productive and richer in carbon.  However, there is uncertainty in what causes charcoal to remain in soils.  We sampled soils repeatedly after a fire and found that charcoal was especially prone to landscape movement compared to other forms of soil carbon.  This suggests that it may be preferentially buried, increasing the likelihood of storage in soils.

Check it out here!

NSF awards Rice $1.7 million grant to acquire new mass spectrometer

The NSF has awarded Rice a $1.7 million grant for a time-of-flight secondary ion mass spectrometer (TOF-SIMS), which will allow Rice scientists to study chemical compositions and molecular structures of substances ranging from cells to rocks. Dr. Masiello and department chair Cin-Ty Lee are co-investigators on the grant, with principal investigator Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering professor Rafael Verduzco.

Read more about the grant on Rice News.

Team led by Dr. Masiello awarded a $1 million grant to develop biosensors for soil

The W.M. Keck Foundation awarded Rice University scientists a $1 million grant to develop microbial biosensors for soil. The grant will support Dr. Masiello, Dr. Jonathan Silberg, Dr. Matthew Bennett and the group's Shelly Cheng, who are combining Earth science with synthetic biology to approach soil science from the microbial scale. 

Read more about the award and the work it has supported on Rice News and on our Research page (Developing Biosensors for Earth System Science).