Departments of Geology and Geography
Dr. Townsend–Small’s research examines feedbacks in the global carbon and nitrogen cycles and their interactions with the global hydrologic cycle. Her research has spanned marine, freshwater, and terrestrial environments. An improved understanding of feedbacks in global biogeochemical cycles is critical for predicting environmental consequences of global climate change. For example, many scientists have predicted that increased emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will result in greater precipitation rates on land and increased river discharge to the oceans. Dr. Townsend–Small’s research has shown that an increase in precipitation and associated erosion rates in mountainous rivers wil likely result in greater export of terrestrial organic carbon in rivers, which will further accelerate emissions of carbon dioxide. Her research has also explored the effects of urbanization on carbon storage in terrestrial ecosystems and greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions of the more elusive greenhouse gases: nitrous oxide and methane. Dr. Townsend–Small’s research also makes use of stable isotope ratios to estimate nitrogen and carbon transformation pathways and radiocarbon dating to measure carbon turnover rates and fossil fuel emissions.
Amy Townsend–Small, James W. McClelland, R. Max Holmes, & Bruce J. Peterson (2011). Seasonal and hydrologic drivers of dissolved organic matter and nutrients in the upper Kuparuk River, Alaskan Arctic. Biogeochemistry 103: 109-124, doi:10.1007/s10533-010-9451-4.
Amy Townsend–Small & Claudia I. Czimczik (2010). Carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions in urban turf. Geophysical Research Letters, 37(L02707 and L06707), doi:10.1029/2009GL041675 and doi:10.1029/GL042735.
Amy Townsend–Small, Jorge L. Noguera, Michael E. McClain, & Jay A. Brandes (2007). Radiocarbon and stable isotope geochemistry of organic matter in the Amazon headwaters, Peruvian Andes. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 21(GB2029), doi:10.1029/2006GB002835.