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Greenhouse gas flux response in biochar- and compost-amended urban soils under simulated soil hydrologic dynamics

Active Dates 9/1/2022-6/30/2024
Program Area Atmospheric System Research
Project Description
The Lower Rio Grande Valley (LRGV) in South Texas is a subtropical semi-arid region experiencing increased occurrence of extreme drought with occasional intense precipitation events that result in region-wide flooding. It is also a region experiencing rapid urbanization along the US-Mexico border. This project is designed to investigate greenhouse gas emissions in urban soils of the LRGV subjected to contrasting soil hydrologic conditions and organic amendments (biochar and compost) through soil mesocosm experiments. Biochar and compost were chosen as soil amendments for turfgrass sodding, representing stable and labile carbon sources, respectively. Soil columns consisting of local urban soil will be amended with biochar, compost, biochar + compost, or no amendment. All columns will be sodded with a turfgrass (St. Augustine) and receive nitrogen-fertilizer representing a typical urban lawn. Soil hydrologic conditions (unsaturated, half-saturated, and fully saturated) will be simulated within a 10-week period for soil biogeochemistry parameters and greenhouse gas emissions. This project will explore the underrepresented role of biochar and compost (anthropogenic carbon source) on urban soil greenhouse gas emission toward “a predictive understanding of complex biological, earth, and environmental systems”. The simulation of contrasting soil hydrologic dynamics will address how aerobic and anaerobic conditions affect soil hydro-biogeochemical reactions and greenhouse gas emissions in urban lawn soils. This project will foster University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) research capabilities in climate and environmental research and help the project team incorporate research into education while promoting experiential learning opportunities to UTRGV students in the nation’s second largest Hispanic-serving institution (> 90% Hispanic of 29,000 students).
Award Recipient(s)
  • University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Edinburg (PI: Kang, James)