Biogeochemistry is broadly defined as the study of element cycling in the Earth system. As the name implies, biogeochemistry is a highly interdisciplinary field. It includes all of the parts of the Earth system and gives particular attention to the linkages between these parts.

Research in our laboratory focuses on interactions between soils, plants, and the atmosphere. We investigate feedbacks between biogeochemical processes and natural and human-induced environmental changes. We are interested in how biogeochemical processes vary across space and time. We use an interdisciplinary approach to address these questions over a wide range of scales at the interface of terrestrial ecology, atmospheric science, and soil science.


We have several ongoing projects focused on biogeochemical and ecosystem processes and the impacts of environmental change or management on element cycling. Currently our work is focused on photodegradation in grassland ecosystems and on element cycling in urban environments. Please see the Research Projects page.

Prospective graduate students and postdocs should contact Dr. King (). In your email message, please include your resume or CV, as well as a research statement. Your research statement should describe your background, experience, and specific research interests for graduate school or postdoctoral work.

For more general information about the Graduate Program in Geography (application deadline is December 15th), see the Geography Graduate Program Description.

Undergraduate students interested in participating in research projects and in gaining research experience are encouraged to inquire with Professor King about possible independent studies or research projects (GEOG 199 and 199RA) in the King Lab.


We have just published a review of photodegradation research in the Synthesis and Emerging Ideas section of Biogeochemistry. The reference information is:

King, J.Y., L.A. Brandt, L.A., and E.C. Adair. 2012. Shedding light on plant litter decomposition: advances, implications and new directions in understanding the role of photodegradation. Biogeochemsitry doi:10.1007/s10533-012-9737-9.

One of our publications was featured on the cover of Ecosystems. The photo is of desert grassland at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge after a monsoon rain. The photo was taken from our New Mexico field site where we conducted research on the role of photodegradation in grassland litter decomposition. Photo by Leslie Brandt (Ph.D. 2009, Advisor: Jennifer King)


The reference information is: Brandt, L.A., J.Y. King, S.E. Hobbie, D.G. Milchunas, and R.L. Sinsabaugh. 2010. The role of photodegradation in surface litter decomposition across a grassland ecosystem precipitation gradient. Ecosystems 13: 765-781, doi: 10.1007/s10021-010-9353-2.