Prof. Caitlin Hicks Pries Studies Soil Carbon and Climate Change

Professor Caitlin Hicks Pries' lab studies the terrestrial carbon cycle and the effects of a warming climate on that cycle.  Organic material is the source of carbon in soils.  As this material is decomposed by microbes, carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere.  A warming climate can increase the activity of the soil-dwelling microbes and, thereby, accelerate the amount of the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, that is released into the atmosphere.

In her lab, Professor Hicks Pries is focusing on both understanding the effects of climate change on soils and on finding ways to retain carbon in soils.  If the carbon could be retained in soils, the release of carbon dioxide would be reduced.  Reducing greenhouse gas release would help to mitigate the increase in global temperatures that are fueling this process.

To read more about Professor Hicks Pries' work please visit her lab web page and read the Joe Blumberg's article in Dartmouth News (

Photograph by Eli Burakian ’00.