Impacts of global change and land use on biogeochemical dynamics in Southwestern Wyoming

Uthara’s research focuses on the interactive effect of global change scenarios and land use practices on soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics in sagebrush ecosystems of the American West. Drylands contain about 20% of the world’s carbon stock, with the majority being held in slow-cycling belowground pools. Despite playing a critical role in the global carbon cycle, patterns of carbon accumulation and loss in these ecosystems remain understudied. Uthara is studying the landscape-scale fluxes and pools across riparian areas, meadows, sagebrush lowlands and uplands to understand the relative impact of different landscape positions on the net greenhouse gas budget of the region. In another experiment, Uthara is building on the experimental design of a PhD student, Scott Carpenter, to investigate the impacts grazing intensity and increased precipitation have on biogeochemical cycling in this region. This work is centered around the impacts of climate change and land use intensification on drylands in the West as these effects will play a critical role in better informing our understanding of carbon cycle-earth system feedbacks.

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Uthara Vengrai, Western Resource Fellow|Uthara Vengrai is a Master of Environmental Science candidate at the Yale School of the Environment. Her thesis research combines simulation modeling and field research to better understand the effects of land use practices and global change on biogeochemical fluxes and soil organic matter in dryland ecosystems. Originally from southern California, her academic interests are strongly motivated by a desire to produce research that helps inform and prepare communities in the West for the impacts of climate change. Uthara holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Sciences from the University of California, Berkeley. See what Uthara has been up to.  |  Blog