Cornell has a long and distinguished history in the fields of biogeochemistry and ecosystem science. These fields of science strive to understand basic mechanistic processes at scales from within ecosystems to the entire globe and provide a framework for investigating aspects of human-accelerated environmental change, including climate change, acid deposition, eutrophication, land-use change, the impacts of invasive species, and loss of native biodiversity. Understanding biogeochemical and ecosystem processes often requires integration of such diverse disciplines as community and population ecology, hydrology, agronomy, forestry, limnology, oceanography, soil sciences, atmospheric sciences, and resource economics.
The Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (EEB) has particular strengths in the study of hydrologic and atmospheric exchanges of nitrogen with terrestrial ecosystems, regional carbon dynamics, the global methane cycle, coastal eutrophication issues including the interaction of human activities and climate change on the flux of nutrients from large regions and river basins, and the influence of organism assemblages on the biogeochemistry of aquatic ecosystems. Because many biogeochemical and ecosystem science questions are inherently multidisciplinary, biogeochemical research at Cornell interfaces heavily with other research areas within the department and with other departments at Cornell. Thirty-five faculty members across eight departments and three colleges (Biological and Environmental Engineering, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Crop and Soil Sciences, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, EEB, Horticulture, Microbiology, Natural Resources) have significant research and teaching interests in biogeochemistry.