Speaker Bios

Portrait of Eric DavidsonEric Davidson, University of Maryland (website)

Eric A. Davidson is Director and Professor at the Appalachian Laboratory of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science in Frostburg, MD. Previously, he was a Senior Scientist and served a term as President and Executive Director at the Woods Hole Research Center, Woods Hole, MA. His research in biogeochemistry includes the exchange of plant nutrients from the land to streams and groundwater and the exchange of greenhouse gases between the soil and the atmosphere. He works in a variety of ecosystems, including forests and agricultural lands in North and South America. Davidson holds a Ph.D. in forestry from North Carolina State University and held post-doctoral positions in soil microbiology and biogeochemistry at the UC-Berkeley and the NASA Ames Research Center. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and President of the 60,000-member scientific society, the American Geophysical Union. He served as the Coordinator of the North American Center for the International Nitrogen Initiative and is the leader of a Research Coordination Network on Reactive Nitrogen in the Environment. Davidson has written a popular book, You Can’t Eat GNP, which explores the links between economics and ecology for students and laypersons.


Margaret Torn, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (website) portrait of Dr. Torn

Margaret S. Torn is Senior Advisor in the Climate and Ecosystem Sciences Division (CESD) and lead of the Biosphere-Atmosphere Interactions Program Domain, which includes the Atmospheric Systems Research and Terrestrial Ecosystems Scienceprograms. Margaret co-led the former Climate and Carbon Sciences Program Area in the old Earth Sciences Division. She is lead PI for three large DOE-supported projects: AmeriFlux Management Project, Belowground Carbon Cycling Scientific Focus Area, and Land-Atmosphere Interactions, and is co-PI for the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment in the Arctic. At U.C. Berkeley, Margaret is an Adjunct Professor in the Energy and Resources Group, where she has taught classes on climate change impacts and adaptation, and a seminar on food systems. In 2003 she received the Presidential Early Career Award as one of the country’s top young scientists and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate by the faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences at the University of Zurich.
Margaret is an ecologist and biogeochemist who studies the natural carbon cycle and human impacts on the carbon cycle through land use, energy use, and climate change. Her research uses field experiments, isotopic tracers (14C, 13C), laboratory analysis, and mathematical models. She has published more than 100 peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from the basic mechanisms of soil carbon cycling and ecosystem-climate feedbacks, to ecological aspects of bioenergy production, to strategies for climate-change mitigation.


Dr. Wei-Jun CaiWei-Jun Cai, University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (website)
Mary A. S. Lighthipe Chair Professor

Dr. Cai has worked on marine carbon cycling for 20 years. His research areas include CaCO3dissolution and sediment diagenesis in deep sea using microelectrodes (O2, pH and pCO2) and air-sea exchange of CO2 and carbon cycling in coastal oceans. Most recently, his research focuses on the responses of coastal ocean carbon cycle and ecosystem to a changing terrestrial export of carbon and nutrients as well as bottom-water acidification in estuaries and coastal oceans.


Rodrigo Vargas, University of Delaware, College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (website) Dr. Rodrigo Vargas

With a focus on how biophysical factors regulate carbon and water dynamics in terrestrial ecosystems. Specifically, studying soil-plant-atmosphere interactions to understand the response of terrestrial ecosystems to management, extreme events, and global change. I am interested in studying above- and below-ground processes at multiple spatio-temporal scales and vegetation types.