Story posted April 15, 2005
A research paper co-authored by Bowdoin Assistant Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies John Lichter has been named one of the most influential articles in environmental science by Essential Science Indicators.
The article, "Limited Carbon Storage in Soil and Litter of Experimental Forest Plots Under Increased Atmospheric CO2," appeared in a 2001 issue of the prestigious journal Nature. The work was co-authored by William H. Schlesinger, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences at Duke University.
Their research, which is part of a large-scale research project called Free Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE), is considered a seminal work in the study of carbon sequestration. It was the first work to call into question the role of forest soils in removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
The article received broad media attention, including a mention in The New York Times. It has been cited professionally over 90 times.
"I never expected this to happen," said Lichter. "I suppose this is my 15 minutes of fame. I appreciate the recognition and hope it continues to bring attention to the level of research being done at Bowdoin."
Lichter, who joined Bowdoin's faculty in 2000, is continuing and expanding his soils research, working with colleague Beth Stemmler, Bowdoin associate professor of chemistry. A follow-up study to his Nature article will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Ecology. It includes research conducted by several Bowdoin students.