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How does the way plants use carbon affect the health of our planet? Through the Rainfall and Diversity (RaD) experiment — part of the Dimensions in Biodiversity research site at the KU Field Station — scientists are studying how plant diversity can increase plant community growth and how those patterns change as they add or reduce precipitation.

Laura Podzikowski, Ph.D. candidate in the KU Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, and an affiliate of the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research, will share her research addressing these questions about the carbon cycle. By also measuring soil respiration, which is essentially soil exhalation, Laura is able to further our understanding of whether the carbon that plants incorporate into their tissues ultimately ends up stored in soils — or if it is quickly released back into the atmosphere. These two possible outcomes have different implications for the global carbon cycle and Earth's health. Laura is the recipient of a USDA-National Institute of Food and Agriculture Postdoctoral Fellowship. This three-minute video provides a summary of her research and this month's presentation topic.

Science Sundays is a new monthly series of in-person public talks at the KU Field Station. These Sunday afternoon talks cover a variety of science topics, including research happening at the Field Station. Talks are free and open to the public — anyone who wants to learn more about science — but may not interest younger audiences. Registration will be capped at 40 each month; please RSVP by emailing Wendy Holman (, KU Field Station Education Program Coordinator. The KU Field Station is managed by the Kansas Biological Survey & Center for Ecological Research.



  • April Friedl

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