I am broadly interested in interactions between ecosystems and the atmosphere, with an emphasis on carbon cycling in peatlands and soils. I have developed a model of soil carbon decomposition that includes microbial dynamics and carbon-mineral interactions, which I have implemented in the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory Earth System Model. In addition to modeling, I use eddy covariance measurements to investigate ecosystem responses to environmental disturbances such as water table fluctuations in peatlands.
Me (right, in the green hoodie) at the Sylvania Wilderness old-growth forest flux tower site with a group from the ChEAS
meeting, August 2008
From 2012-2013, I was a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University. I worked with the land modeling group at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), a world-class climate modeling lab funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). I developed a new soil carbon model for use in GFDL's global land model. The new model includes microbial dynamics, priming effects, and protected carbon.
I am currently a postdoctoral research associate at Indiana University, working with Rich Phillips in the department of Biology and Kim Novick in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA). I am processing and analyzing flux data from the Morgan Monroe State Forest (MMSF) flux tower
, which has been continuously measuring carbon dioxide and water vapor fluxes in Morgan Monroe State Forest (Indiana) since 1998. In addition to flux tower measurements, I am continuing development on a computer model of soil carbon that includes microbial dynamics, priming effects, and protected carbon. I am using laboratory experiments and field measurements to constrain model processes and behavior, as well as continuing to develop and test the global version of the soil model.
I completed my PhD at the University of Wisconsin Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
in April, 2012. The focus of my dissertation was hydrological controls on peatland carbon cycling. I used field measurements from the ChEAS
(Chequamegon Ecosystem Atmosphere Study) cooperative, Ameriflux
, and the University of Michigan Biological Station
, as well as the LANDIS-II model. Another major portion of my research was analysis of results from a model-observation intercomparison project for wetland sites as part of theNorth American Carbon Program
. My primary analysis tools are scipy
, and matplotlib
. These are free, open source scientific, numerical, and plotting packages for python
I majored in physics at Oberlin College
, graduating in 2006. I completed my Masters from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in 2009. My thesis was titled "A comparison of carbon dioxide, water, and energy fluxes at a drying shrub wetland in northern Wisconsin, USA with nearby wetland and forest sites."
I enjoy biking, running, and ultimate frisbee.
Peer reviewed papers:
Sulman, B. N.
, Desai, A. R., & Mladenoff, D. J. (2013). Modeling Soil and Biomass Carbon Responses to Declining Water Table in a Wetland-Rich Landscape. Ecosystems
(3), 491–507. doi:10.1007/s10021-012-9624-1
Grant, R. F., Desai, A. R., & Sulman, B. N
. (2012). Modelling contrasting responses of wetland productivity to changes in water table depth. Biogeosciences
(11), 4215–4231. doi:10.5194/bg-9-4215-2012
Benjamin N. Sulman
, Ankur R. Desai, Nicole M. Schroeder, Dan Ricciuto, Alan Barr, Andrew D. Richardson, Lawrence B. Flanagan, Peter M. Lafleur, Hanqin Tian, Guangsheng Chen, Robert F. Grant, Benjamin Poulter, Hans Verbeeck, Philippe Ciais, Bruno Ringeval, Ian T. Baker, Kevin Schaefer, Yiqi Luo, and Ensheng Weng, Impact of hydrological variations on modeling of peatland CO2 fluxes: results from the North American Carbon Program site synthesis
. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 117, G01031, 2012.
B. N. Sulman
, A. R. Desai, N. Z. Saliendra, P. M. Lafleur, L. B. Flanagan, O. Sonnentag, D. S. Mackay, A. G. Barr, and G. van der Kamp, CO2 fluxes at northern fens and bogs have opposite responses to inter-annual fluctuations in water table
. Geophys. Res. Lett. 37, L 19702, 2010.
B. N. Sulman
, A. R. Desai, B. D. Cook, N. Saliendra, and D. S. Mackay, The impact of a declining water table on observed carbon fluxes at a northern temperate wetland
. Biogeosciences, 6, 1115-1126, 2009.
Posters and presentations:
Please contact me if you are interested in using or learning more about any results or figures from the attached files. Results may be out of date.
Talk, American Meteorological Society 30th conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology/First Conference on Atmospheric Biogeosciences, Boston, MA, May 2012: Peatland carbon cycle responses to long- term hydrological change
Talk, American Geophysical Union 2011 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec, 2011: Ecosystem model performance at wetlands: Results from the North American Carbon Program site synthesis
Talk, Ameriflux Science Meeting and 3rd Annual North American Carbon Program All-investigators Meeting, New Orleans, LA, Feb. 2011: Challenges for wetland carbon cycle modeling
Talk, American Geophysical Union 2010 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 2010: Sensitivity of regional forest carbon budgets to continuous and stochastic climate change pressures
Poster, American Meteorological Society 29th Conference on Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, Keystone, CO, Aug. 2010: Is temperature change or disturbance more important? Modeling the future of northern Great Lakes forest carbon cycling
Poster, NACP Interim Synthesis, Oak Ridge, TN, Nov. 2009: How well do we model wetlands?
Poster, Ameriflux meeting, Washington, DC, Sept. 2009: Forests, wetlands, and lakes: comparing drivers of carbon cycling in heterogeneous northern landscapes
Talk, University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences department seminar, Madison, WI, April, 2009:
- Water, biology, and climate in northern Wisconsin: Carbon dioxide fluxes at a drying wetland PDF PPT
Poster, Ameriflux meeting, Boulder CO, Oct. 2008: Observed carbon-water interactions in three north-temperate wetlands
Talk, American Meteorological Society 18th Conference on Atmospheric Biogeosciences, Orlando, FL, April 2008:
Honors and Awards
Awarded BART IGERT Fellowship, 2009-2011.
Honorable mention, DOE GREF fellowship, 2009.
Received UW AOS Department award for excellent performance in first year graduate studies, 2008.
Email: bsulman <_at_> indiana <_dot_> edu