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Carbon Cycling and Biosequestration

Integrating Biology and Climate Through Systems Science

December 2008

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To develop research objectives in biological carbon cycling and biosequestration of carbon in ecosystems, BER hosted the Carbon Cycling and Biosequestration Workshop in March 2008. Experts in terrestrial and ocean biogeochemical cycling, ecosystem science, research technology development, molecular biology, and modeling met to identify research needs and opportunities for understanding biological carbon cycling and biosequestration. Participants also assessed current science and technology and discussed fundamental research for pursuing BER goals. This report outlines the workshop's findings and highlights key opportunities for research on biological aspects of the global carbon cycle.

Suggested citation for this report: U.S. DOE. 2008. Carbon Cycling and Biosequestration: Report from the March 2008 Workshop, DOE/SC-108, U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science (

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  • Executive Summary (PDF, 99 kb)
  • Overview (PDF, 863 kb)
    • DOE Workshop on Biological Carbon Cycling and Biosequestration Research
    • Introduction
    • Accurate Climate Projections, Effective Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies Depend on Understanding the Global Carbon Cycle
    • Biology’s Critical Role in the Carbon Cycle
    • Ecosystem Response in a Changing Climate
  • Technical Strategy (PDF, 662 kb)
    • Integrated Science for Predicting Carbon Cycle Responses
    • Summary of Research Requirements for Biological Carbon Cycling and Biosequestration
    • Interdisciplinary Projects and Training
  • Carbon Flows in Ecosystems—Ecosystem Processes (PDF, 2111 kb)
    • Plant Productivity, Partitioning, Respiration, Recalcitrance, Plant-Soil Interactions, and Carbon Biosequestration
    • Carbon Flows and Stocks in Soils
    • Controlling Factors of Carbon Recalcitrance and Biosequestration
  • Ecosystem and Plant Response to Environmental Variables and Climate Change (PDF, 376 kb)
    • Biotic and Abiotic Interactions in Ecosystems
    • Experimental Responses of Different Biomes to Atmospheric and Climatic Change
    • Plant-Soil Interactions (Soil Physicochemistry)
  • Ecosystem Dynamics (PDF, 363 kb)
    • Stand Development in Forests: Baseline Maturation and Aging of Ecosystems
    • The Role of Plant-Trait Variation in Ecosystem Response to Chronic Stress Arising from Climate Change
    • Interannual Variability: Episodic Stress
    • Disturbance and the Dynamics of Carbon Cycling and Biosequestration
  • Biogeochemical Cycling of Carbon in Oceans and Climate Change (PDF, 957 kb)
    • Marine Carbon “Pumps” and Potential Consequences of Climate Change
    • Linking Microbial Community Structure to Biogeochemical Cycling of Carbon in Marine Systems
    • Interactions Between the Marine Carbon Cycle and Other Relevant Biogeochemical Cycles (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Iron, and Sulfur)
    • Omic and Systems Biology Approaches to Understanding the Marine Carbon Cycle
    • Integration of Experiments, Observations, and Modeling Efforts
  • Integrating Biology and Climate Through Systems Science (PDF, 313 kb)
    • Genomics and Systems Biology
    • Knowledge Integration and Synthesis with Biogeochemical Models
    • Crosscutting Issues, Measurement Methods, and Strategies
  • Appendices (PDF, 313 kb)
    • Carbon Cycling and Biosequestration Workshop Participants and Agendas
    • Glossary
    • Bibliography

*Note to readers: The following notice applies to figures used with permission from Science and AAAS for this report. The specific images to which this refers are Figs. 1.6, 3.1, 6.1, Legume Root Invasion, and Water Column Inventory of Anthropogenic CO2 in the Ocean.

Readers may view, browse, and/or download material for temporary copying purposes only, provided these uses are for noncommercial personal purposes. Except as provided by law, this material may not be further reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, adapted, performed, displayed, published, or sold in whole or in part, without prior written permission from the publisher.

BER Program Manager for Carbon Cycling

Dawn Adin
U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Biological and Environmental Research
Phone: 301-903-9549


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