Lecture: Charting a multidisciplinary odyssey with isoscapes

11 December 2015, 1.00 PM - 11 December 2015, 2.00 PM

LT4, School of Chemistry

The OGU and Cabot Institute are jointly hosting a visit from Jason West who is a Professor of Ecosystem Ecology at Texas A&M University and also co-director of the Stable Isotopes for Biosphere Science laboratory. He has pioneered the use of "isoscapes" as an organizing framework, which includes gathering and using spatially explicit isotope data, isotope mapping and multidisciplinary applications of isoscapes. This is a really exciting new field, which is now being applied in a range of diverse disciplines including ecology, hydrology, biology, biogeochemistry, anthropology, geography and forensics.

The lecture will be held at 13.00 pm in LT4.  The abstract for the talk is below. 

All are welcome!


Jason B. West, Associate Professor, Texas A&M University


Because of clear linkages to Earth system processes, spatial variation in stable isotope ratios has been an important topic of research since Alfred Nier and others built mass spectrometers that could measure small differences in isotope abundances. Recently, there has been a resurgence in interest across disciplines, particularly since the appearance of "isoscapes" as an organizing framework. The increasing focus on spatial variation in particular is being driven by technological advances, at least in part, but it is also the result of research pointing to the importance of spatially varying processes, as well as, arguably, more systems-based approaches to conducting research. It is in this context, then, that I will discuss research into the causes of spatio-temporal variation in light stable isotope ratios, approaches to modeling this variation, and highlight areas of promising efforts to link biological systems to underlying physical processes across scales. I will focus in particular on meteoric water isotopic variation and its incorporation into living systems, biophysical and physiological models of plants, and novel approaches to the microbiological systems of soils.

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