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Tropical Forests

Humid tropical forests cover <10% of the global land surface yet harbor the greatest biodiversity on Earth and dominate terrestrial exchanges of energy, water, and carbon with the atmosphere. These flows are accompanied by the largest natural fluxes of nitrogen (N) between land and atmosphere globally. Annually, humid tropical forests transform more N2 via biological N2 fixation, lose more dissolved N to rivers, and return more N gas to the atmosphere via denitrification than any other forest biome. These large N fluxes influence global climate by fueling plant drawdown of CO2 and microbial production of nitrous oxide (N2O), both powerful greenhouse gases. We examine how local organism-environment interactions scale to influence the macroscopic biogeochemical properties of tropical forest ecosystems. Our research includes examinations of watershed biogeochemical flows, long-term tree dynamics, ecosystem change across elevational gradients, and effects of global change.   


Recent Publications: 

Gay, J.D., B. Currey, E.N.J. Brookshire. 2022. Global distribution and climate sensitivity of the tropical

 montane forest N cycle. Nature Communications.

Currey, B., M.P. Oatham, E.N.J. Brookshire. 2021. Negative trait-based association between tropical forest biomass accumulation and abundance of nitrogen fixing trees.  Journal of Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.13524.

Valiela, I, K.Chenoweth, I.R. Juman, H. Asmath, D. Hanacek, J. Lloret, E. Elmstrom, E.N.J. Brookshire.

2020. Water quality, nutrients, and stable isotopic signatures of particulates and vegetation in Caroni Swamp, Trinidad, a mangrove ecosystem exposed to past anthropogenic perturbations. Regional Studies in Marine Science, 35: 1011208.

Brookshire, E.N.J., N.  Wurzburger, B.  Currey, D.N.L. Menge, M.P., Oatham, C. Roberts. 2019. Symbiotic N fixation is sufficient to support net aboveground biomass accumulation in  a humid tropical forest. Scientific Reports. 9:7571.

Brookshire, E.N.J., S. Gerber, W. Greene, R.A. Jones, and S.A Thomas. 2017. Global bounds on nitrogen

gas emissions from humid tropical forests. Geophysical Research Letters 44: 2502-2510

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