Susan E. Trumbore

Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science

Primary Section: 63, Environmental Sciences and Ecology
Membership Type:
Member (elected 2010)

Photo Credit: Markus Scholz, courtesy Franklin Institute


Susan Trumbore uses radiocarbon to trace the timescales associated with the flow of carbon through terrestrial ecosystems, including efforts to understand soil organic matter persistence and plant allocation. These studies focus on the age of storage reserves used by long-lived plants to survive C limitation and studies of factors controlling the age and transit time distributions of C in and respired from soils. She has a long-standing interest in biosphere-atmosphere exchange and the role of disturbances in altering those fluxes.  In addition to leading the Processes Department at the Max-Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry, Trumbore maintains a 20% Professorship in Earth System Science at UC Irvine.

Research Interests

Current large collaborations include coordination of the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) Project in central Amazonia, a large, international collaborative project to study the interactions between intact central Amazon rainforest, the atmosphere and climate.  With researchers at UC Irvine, the Woodwell Research Center, the University of Brasilia and IPAM (a Brazilian NGO), Trumbore is also studying how land use and forest degradation change land-atmosphere fluxes in the southern Amazon 'arc of deforestation' at Tanguro Ranch in Mato Grosso, Brazil, where she also studies physiological links between water and C cycling in trees.  Trumbore is also involved in Critical Zone research, and is a co-speaker for the German Collaborative Research Program AquaDiva, that studies the links between surface and subsurface life. 

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