Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access




Denise Finney

Committee Member

Jennifer King

Committee Member

Eric Williamsen

Department Chair

Rebecca Lyczak

Project Description

Utilizing agriculture as a resource to mitigate the increased atmospheric CO2 fueling the climate crisis requires transformation of soils from a carbon (C) source into a C sink by investing in root-microbial communities to increase organic matter (OM) storage. While research has focused on microbial mediated soil organic matter (SOM) stabilization dynamics in surface soils, deeper soils, which are dominated by minerology, also contain a significant amount of C and controls over SOM stabilization here are less understood. This research utilizes several soil health indicators alongside Infrared (IR) Spectroscopy to analyze a series of questions related to soil composition and functionality within 15–30cm, 30–45cm, 45–60cm in the depth profile within various perennial forage crop treatments. Analysis found a significant effect of depth on soil health indicators total C (TC), mineralizable C, potassium oxidizable C (POX-C), and soil microbial biomass (SMB), and that the relationships between these variables, which provides insights into SOM processes, also differed by depth. Overall, these results demonstrate that vertical position in the soil profile plays a critical role in mediating SOM stabilization and highlights a need for research to consider the impacts of depth and organo-mineral relationships.