Bonnie McGill Wins American Geophysical Union's Outstanding Student Paper Award

Bonnie McGill, an Integrative Biology graduate student in Steve Hamilton's Lab, won an Outstanding Student Paper Award for her contribution to the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), which hosts approximately 24,000 attendees in San Francisco, California every December. 

Bonnie's poster, co-authored with Steve Hamilton, was entitled: Agricultural liming, irrigation and carbon sequestration. Bonnie clarified, "Basically we're trying to figure out where carbon goes, specifically the mineral carbon in crushed limestone or 'lime' we apply to soils to buffer their pH and the mineral carbon dissolved in groundwater that we irrigate with. That carbon can turn into carbon dioxide and end up in the atmosphere, or it can trap an additional molecule of carbon dioxide and sequester it away from the atmosphere in the groundwater. Right now, it appears that the nitrogen fertilized row crop soils we study at the KBS Long Term Ecological Research site are a net source of CO2 a majority of the time, but under some conditions they are a net sink of CO2. This summer I'll be working with undergraduates to measure nitrification rates in the soil (the main driver of soil acidity) and how much of that CO2 is from lime vs. irrigation water." 

"I've been looking forward to attending this conference for several years, hoping it would be a good professional 'fit' for my research. Normally at conferences I present my poster and people are like "What's lime?" But at AGU I met with several scientists with experience in this specific area and they had great ideas and feedback for me that I can incorporate into my final field season."