Amy Burgin is an assistant professor in the University of Nebraska-Lincoln's School of Natural Resources, since September 2011. Her research integrates the fields of microbial ecology, biogeochemistry and aquatic ecosystem ecology. I use tools from analytical chemistry, microbiology and molecular biology to better understand how microbes control ecosystem-level nutrient fluxes. Her research program has valuable connections to current environmental concerns including global change, the effects of land-use change on ecosystems and aquatic eutrophication. Her research focuses on nitrogen (N) cycling. Excessive N causes many water-quality problems. Much of the N that enters watersheds is removed before reaching the oceans, but how and where the removal occurs is not well understood.
- Ph.D., Zoology and Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior (EEBB), Michigan State University and Kellogg Biological Station, 2007
- B.A., Biology and Environmental Sci., magna cum laude, Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Ia, 2002
Examples of Current Research/Extension Programs:
Burgin's research integrates the fields of microbial ecology, biogeochemistry and aquatic ecosystem ecology. She uses tools from analytical chemistry, microbiology and molecular biology to better understand how microbes control ecosystem-level nutrient fluxes. Much of her research focuses understanding connections and interactions between carbon (C), nitrogen (N), sulfur (S) and phosphorus (P) cycling in lake, river and wetland ecosystems. Understanding the connections between elemental cycles is particularly important in ecosystems that have been highly altered by anthropogenic activities (e.g., nitrogen loading from agriculture) as these actions are simultaneously affecting multiple elemental cycles, resulting in unknown synergistic effects. Questions asked in her research program have valuable connections to current environmental concerns including global change, the effects of land-use change on ecosystems and aquatic eutrophication. She began her position in UNL's SNR in September of 2011 after completing two years as an Assistant Professor of Earth & Environmental Sciences at Wright State University (Ohio, USA). There, she worked on three funded projects, which serve to illustrate the type of work she hopes to continue in SNR. Two grants focus on N transformation and greenhouse gas production in wetlands and are funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Wetlands are particularly difficult ecosystems to study because of their complex hydrology, yet they a well-recognized as important "filters" of contaminants on the landscape scale. The goal of the NSF grant is to understand how increased inputs of salt and S from sea level rise will alter a coastal wetland's ability to remove N loading from nearby agricultural fields. The goal of the USDA grant is to understand the implications of wetland restoration on agricultural lands for C and greenhouse gas balances. The third grant is funded by the State of Ohio to study the addition of aluminum sulfate ("alum") to a hyper-eutrophic lake to combat harmful algal blooms. These three projects highlight the connections between human activities and biogeochemical cycling in freshwater ecosystems, and the implications for those actions under changing land use and climate.
- Limnology, NRES 459
- Burgin A.J., S.K. Hamilton, W. Yang, and W. Silver. 2011. Beyond C and N: How the microbial energy economy couples elemental cycles in diverse ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
- Beaulieu, JJ and 27 others including A.J. Burgin. 2011. Nitrous oxide emission from denitrification in stream and river networks. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. DOI:10.1073
- Burgin A.J., PM Groffman and D.N. Lewis. 2010. Patterns of soil O2 drive denitrification in riparian ecosystems. Soil Science Society of America Journal 74: 1826-1833.
- Payne, E.K., A.J. Burgin and S.K. Hamilton. 2009. Nitrate stimulation of sulfur oxidation in freshwaters: evidence from sediment nitrate manipulation using porewater equilibrators. Aquatic Microbial Ecology 54:233-241.
- Burgin, A.J. and S.K. Hamilton. NO3- driven SO42- production in freshwater ecosystems: implications for N and S cycling. 2008. Ecosystems 11:908-922.
- Burgin, A.J. and S.K. Hamilton. Have we overemphasized the role of denitrification in aquatic ecosystems? A review of nitrate removal pathways. 2007. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 5(2): 89-96.