D.E.R.T. Lab

Drylands Ecosystem Research Team

ABOUT the dert Lab

We are broadly interested in understanding links between organisms and ecosystem processes in dryland environments. We are especially interested in exploring how these organism-ecosystem links are affected by human activities (e.g., atmospheric nitrogen deposition, climate change, and land management). Most of our work explores the impacts of human activities on organism-ecosystem links within two general themes: (1) the patterns and mechanisms by which organisms affect carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles and (2) the patterns and mechanisms by which ecosystem processes respond to human perturbations to the environment (e.g. climate change and changing human land use. We address these questions through research that integrates manipulative field experiments with modeling. Our experimental approach spans a broad a range of techniques, from the physiological level to the ecosystem level, allowing us to explore links among different levels of ecological organization.


Our work is primarily in arid and semi-arid environments. These 'drylands' contain a large and rapidly increasing portion of the worlds human population, particularly in developing nations where human livelihoods are often tightly linked to sustainable use of drylands.

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Principal Investigator:

Dr. HEather throop

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Associate Professor
School of Earth and Space Exploration

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School of Life Sciences


Arizona State University
Tempe, Arizona, USA


heather.throop@asu.edu