Atmospheric Chemistry Program Seminar: Prof. Eve-Lyn Hinckley, Univ. of Colorado Ecology and Evolutionary Biology: "Advancing Process-based Understanding of How Humans Are Changing the Global Sulfur Cycle"
Advancing Process-based Understanding of How Humans Are Changing the Global Sulfur Cycle
Prof. Eve-Lyn Hinckley,
Univ. of Colorado Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
"Today, the nature of how humans alter the global sulfur (S) cycle is changing. As atmospheric S deposition has declined in response to air quality regulation in the United States and Europe, there has been an increase in S fertilizer applications reported in many large-scale regional crop systems. In addition, intensification of agriculture has driven increased S inputs for other uses: as a pesticide, regulator of soil pH, and soil conditioner. Given that excess S can cause soil acidification and mobilization of heavy metals in ecosystems, it is critical to develop methods to trace the “fingerprint” of agricultural S through complex landscapes, quantify S forms and transformations in soils and surface waters, and determine the consequences of its use. In this talk, I will describe both new trend analyses and process-based studies that provide compelling evidence for how the forms, amounts, flows, and consequences of S have changed from what they were in the 1960s and 1970s when the dominant human manipulation of the S cycle was through mining and fossil fuel emissions. I will highlight studies from my research group that show exciting new methodological developments using radio- and stable isotopes of S adapted from the marine literature to trace S applications through large agricultural regions. I will also discuss the collaborative actions that researchers, land managers, and regulators may take to address the consequences of excess S in the environment. Ultimately, I will make the case for how an element that has been far less investigated than carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus, should be a priority for study in the coming years."