Plante- og miljøvitenskap
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||UMB, box 5003, 1432 Ås
|I am interested in organism and biological functions in soil. The soil is dark and cold, and full of life! And the biological functions in the soil sustain life above the soil surface.
By heart I’m an experimentalis, inventing approaches to find out why/how bacteria survive, who are the “silent majority” (unculturable bacteria), what is the importance of being “free” (versus trapped in a pore), what is the physiological state in situ (in the soil, not in culture) etc.
But I do use models. For designing and interpreting experimental results, very simple models mostly.
More complex biogeochemical models are interesting tools as well, not the least because they can be used for predictions and upscaling (both in space and time). And that’s needed in these times of global change. This modelling has taught me the humiliating lesson that I’m helpless without soil physics. Heat and water transport is governing the life of the soil biota, regulating gas diffusion, creating oxic anoxic spells in soil, controlling plant growth, securing vertical transport etc. Hence, I collaborate with experts in this field.
In modelling ecosystem functions I have also realized that we need good plant models. Hence I work with plant modellers. The plants "drive" the soil ecosystem, most organisms are heterotrophic, and interact with plants directly of indirectly.
I have also realized that I need information and understanding of the soil chemistry, more than is in my own head, to understand the biota’s interaction with specific chemical compounds in soil. Hence I work with chemists.
A late interest is ecosystem research, driven by the options provided by remote sensing. My lab is currently involved in a watershed research project where we try to stratify the landscape into homogenous response units; by remote sensing (LiDAR and hyperspectral scanning from aircraft). One of the purpose is to localize hotspots for methane- as well as nitrous gas emissions. It’s early in the project, and I’m still naively optimistic!