Paper No. 20-1
Presentation Time: 1:30 PM-5:30 PM
BIOGEOCHEMICAL EVOLUTION OF THE ATMOSPHERE: THE BETA PROJECT
The interactions between the atmosphere and biosphere throughout Earth’s history play an important role in the dynamic climate system. The BETA Project involves undergraduate students in a multidisciplinary study of the biogeochemical evolution of Earth’s atmosphere at three key intervals of Earth’s history. (1) The anoxic atmosphere that supported Earth’s first life, (2) the Devonian, a period when forest ecosystems radiated onto the land surface and caused major CO2 drawdown from the atmosphere and (3) the modern agricultural sources of atmospheric NH3. Our interdisciplinary team includes undergraduate Earth Science, Environmental Science, Biology, Biochemistry, and All Science Teaching majors from the University of Northern Iowa. The team is led by faculty from the Earth Science Department and Chemistry and Biochemistry Department at UNI in collaboration with scientists from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The team will use a combination of laboratory simulations, field work and analysis, and weather and climate modeling to study atmospheric changes at these intervals of Earth’s history.