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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