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Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Program

Predictive Understanding of Watershed Systems
Predictive Understanding of Watershed Systems. Watersheds serve as the fundamental hydrological units that connect terrestrial and aquatic systems. The overarching objective of Subsurface Biogeochemical Research is to advance a robust, predictive understanding of watershed function and response to perturbations as needed to address U.S. energy and environmental challenges. [Image courtesy LBNL]

Mission

The Subsurface Biogeochemical Research (SBR) program seeks to advance a robust predictive understanding of how watersheds function as complex hydrobiogeochemical systems and how these systems respond to perturbations caused by changes to climate, land use and cover, and contaminant loading. SBR researchers are encouraged to use a systems approach to probe the multiscale structure and functioning of watersheds and to capture this understanding in mechanistic models representing both the complexities of the terrestrial subsurface and ecohydrological interactions with surface water bodies and vegetation.

A priority for the SBR program is to develop genome-enabled biogeochemical models of the multiscale structure and functioning of watersheds, which are key components of terrestrial environments. These mechanistic models, which extend from bedrock through soils to the vegetative canopy, are based on reactive transport codes that incorporate metabolic models of microbial processes; molecular-scale understanding of geochemical stability, speciation, and biogeochemical reaction kinetics; and diagnostic signatures of the system response at varying spatial and temporal scales. State-of-science understanding codified in models provides the basis for testing hypotheses, guiding experimental design, integrating scientific knowledge on multiple environmental systems into a common framework, and translating this information to support informed decision making and policies.
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Research Highlights

This research was sponsored by the SBR program, except for select highlights related to SBR research (noted as such) that were funded by other BER programs. Click on the "read more" link for information on funding sources.

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Subsurface Biogeochemical Research Overview

July 2017 [PDF]


Funding

Highlights

Subsurface Biogeochemical-Related BER Research Highlights