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Event: Enzymes in the Environment Workshop Starts Tomorrow

Photo Credit: Janice Haney Carr, CDC
Photo Credit: Janice Haney Carr, CDC

Second International Enzymes in the Environment Research Coordination Networks Workshop starts tomorrow at Colorado State University.  Although most soil microbes produce extra-cellular enzymes to degrade and decompose organic matter in their environment, scientists have never explicitly incorporated enzyme activities into the models to predict how ecosystems might change in the future.  This year, the workshop participants will examine, “how enzymes are incorporated into traditional paradigms, classes, and ecosystem models.”

Colin Bell, a postdoctoral researcher at CSU and the program director of the workshop, writes:

The goal of this workshop is to assess the challenges and opportunities to integrate enzymes and microbial physiology into biogeochemical models. By bringing together scientists with expertise spanning scales and ecosystems, we hope that our collective experience will spur advances on this topic. In particular, we expect our expert microbial ecologists to express what they think is missing from current models; and we hope to learn about the constraints and trade-offs involved in increasing model complexity from our expert modelers. We hope to find some middle ground- clarifying specific areas of uncertainty and data needs to move this field forward.

The most important outcome of this meeting will be new ideas and new collaborations, and the RCN has committed funds to support follow-up research visits. In addition, we expect to develop at least one synthesis review paper highlighting current needs and challenges of integrating enzymes and microbial physiology into biogeochemical models.

The workshop is funded by the National Science Foundation, and chaired by CSU scientists Dr. Mathew Wallenstein of Natural Resources Ecology Laboratory and Dr. Mary Stromberger of Department of Soil and Crop Sciences.  The morning sessions are open to public and will feature experts presenting their research in the field of biogeochemical modeling and environmental enzymology.  All talks will be filmed and be made available through here.  Follow the workshop through Twitter here.