A little bit about myself:
I am a soil scientist interested in the biogeochemistry of soils. I’m currently studying how carbon storage in soils is affected by soil characteristics and management practices. This is important because the more carbon that’s stored in the soil, the less that is in the atmosphere as CO2 where it traps heat and causes global warming. A good place to study this is on dairies. In California we have over 1.7 million dairy cows which produce more than 70 billion pounds of manure each year. This is a big source of carbon and while some of it is being stored in soil, I’m interested in how we can increase that amount. I reviewed all the measurements that have been made of greenhouse gas emissions from dairy manure management and this work was published in Global Change Biology (doi: 10.1111/gcb.12687).
My project has two parts. First, I collected and analyzed soils from pastures on organic dairies in California. Some of these pastures have had manure spread on them for decades while others haven’t, providing a useful, long-term experiment on the impacts of land management. The difference in carbon content between these fields will give me an idea of how much carbon can be stored in these types of grassland soils.
Second, I sampled soil and manure and measured greenhouse gas emissions on a dairy. California dairies are some of the most innovative dairies in the world when it comes to combating global warming, but very little is known about their actual emissions of greenhouse gases. This is important data to have for smart planning and policy making.
Owen, J.J., W.L. Silver. 2014. Greenhouse gas emissions from dairy manure management: a review of field-based studies. Global Change Biology. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12687.
Owen, J.J., E. Kebreab, W.E. Silver. 2014. Greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities for California agriculture: Review of emissions and mitigation potential of animal manure management and land application of manure. NI GGMOCA R6. Durham, NC: Duke University. (commissioned report for the California Air Resources Board).
DeLonge, M., J.J. Owen, W.E. Silver. 2014. Greenhouse gas mitigation opportunities for California agriculture: Review of California rangeland emissions and mitigation potential. NI GGMOCA R4. Durham, NC: Duke University. (commissioned report for the California Air Resources Board).
Owen, J.J., W.E. Dietrich, K. Nishiizumi, G. Chong, R. Amundson. 2013. The zebra stripes of the Atacama Desert: Fossil evidence of overland flow. Geomorphology 182: 157-172. doi: 10.1016/j.geomorph.2012.11.006
Owen, J.J. 2013. Hillslope processes in arid environments. In Treatise on Geomorphology, Vol. 7: Mountain and Hillslope Geomorphology, Shroder, J.F. (ed. in chief), Marston, R.A., and Stoffel, M. (vol. eds.) San Diego: Academic Press, p. 363-374. (invited review)
Amundson, R., W. Dietrich, D. Bellugi, S. Ewing, K. Nishiizumi, G. Chong, J. Owen, R. Finkel, A. Heimsath, B. Stewart, M. Caffee. 2012. Geomorphologic evidence for the late Pliocene onset of hyperaridity in the Atacama Desert. GSA Bulletin. doi: 10.1130/B30445.1
Owen, J.J., W.E. Dietrich, K. Nishiizumi, B. Sutter, G. Chong, R. Amundson. 2011. The sensitivity of soil production from bedrock to precipitation. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. doi: 10.1002/esp.2083
Amundson, R., S. Ewing, W. Dietrich, B. Sutter, J. Owen, O. Chadwick, K. Nishiizumi, M. Walvoord, C. McKay. 2008. On the in situ aqueous alteration of soils on Mars. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72(15): 3845-3864. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2008.04.038
Ewing, S.A., B. Sutter, J. Owen, K. Nishiizumi, W. Sharp, S.S. Cliff, K. Perry, W. Dietrich, C.P. McKay, R. Amundson. 2006. A threshold in soil formation at Earth’s arid-hyperarid transition. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70(21): 5293-5322. doi:10.1016/j.gca.2006.08.020