Bio-bibliography + Videoclip


Susan Trumbore

2020 Balzan Prize for Earth System Dynamics

For her outstanding contributions to the study of the carbon cycle and its effects on climate, and for pioneering the use of radiocarbon measurements in Earth system research.

Biographical and Bibliographical Data

Susan Trumbore, born on 23 January 1959 in New York, is a US citizen. She is a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena (Germany), Honorary Professor in the Faculty of Chemistry and Geology at the Friedrich Schiller University of Jena, and Professor of Earth System Science at University of California, Irvine.
She earned her Bachelor of Science in geology at the University of Delaware in 1981 and a doctoral degree in geochemistry from Columbia University in 1989. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and joined the faculty at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) in 1991. In 2009 she became a member of the Max-Planck Society and Director at the Institute for Biogeochemistry.
Trumbore is Editor-in-Chief of the new open access journal AGU Advances. She is the recipient of a number of honors, including the 2018 Benjamin Franklin Medal for Earth and Environmental Science and the 2019 British Ecological Society Marsh Award for Climate Change Research. She is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, and is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Geochemical Society.
Trumbore’s research uses isotopes, particularly radiocarbon produced by nuclear weapons testing, to trace the flow of carbon through vegetation and soils. She has a strong interest in research in tropical regions, and co-coordinates the Brazilian/German Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO) and the Tanguro Flux Project that studies how tropical forest degradation and conversion to pasture or agriculture affect regional climate and carbon balance in the southern Amazon.

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles (eleven most important ones):
-Trumbore, S.E., Davidson, E.A., Decamargo, P.B., Nepstad, D.C., Martinelli, L.A. (1995). Belowground cycling of carbon in forests and pastures of Eastern Amazonia. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 9(4), 515-528. DOI:10.1029/95GB02148.
-Torn, M.S., Trumbore, S.E., Chadwick, O.A., Vitousek, P.M., Hendricks, D.M. (1997). Mineral control of soil organic carbon storage and turnover. Nature, 389(6647), 170-173. DOI:10.1038/38260.
-Trumbore, S.E., Chadwick, O.A., Amundson, R. (1996). Rapid exchange between soil carbon and atmospheric carbon dioxide driven by temperature change. Science, 272(5260), 393-396. DOI:10.1126/science .272.5260.393.
-Gaudinski, J.B., Trumbore, S.E., Davidson, E.A., Zheng, S.H. (2000). Soil carbon cycling in a temperate forest: radiocarbon-based estimates of residence times, sequestration rates and partitioning of fluxes. Biogeochemistry, 51(1), 33-69. DOI:10.1023/A:1006301010014.
-Trumbore, S.E. (2006). Carbon respired by terrestrial ecosystems – recent progress and challenges. Global Change Biology, 12(2), 141-153. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2006.01067.x.
-Vieira, S., Trumbore, S.E., Camargo, P.B., Selhorst, D., Chambers, J.Q., Higuchi, N., Martinelli, L.A. (2005). Slow growth rates of Amazonian trees: Consequences for carbon cycling. Proc.Natl.Acad.Sci.USA, 102(51), 18502-18507. DOI:10.1073/pnas.0505966102.
-Trumbore, S.E., (2009). Radiocarbon and Soil Carbon Dynamics. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, 37, 47-66. DOI:10.1146/
-Trumbore, S., Brando, P., Hartmann, H. (2015) Forest Health and Global Change. Science 349: 814-818., DOI:10.1126/science.aac6759.
-Muhr, J., Trumbore, S.E., Higuchi, N., Kunert, N. (2018). Living on borrowed time – Amazonian trees use decade-old storage carbon to survive for months after complete stem girdling. New Phytologist, 220(1), 111-120. DOI:10.1111/nph.15302.
-Sierra, C.A., Hoyt, A.M., He, Y., Trumbore, S.E., (2018). Soil organic matter persistence as a stochastic process: age and transit time distributions of carbon in soils. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 32(10), 1574-1588. DOI:10.1029/2018GB005950.
-Shi, Z., Allison, S.D., He, Y., Levine, P.A., Hoyt, A.M., Beem-Miller, J., Zhu, Q., Wieder, W.R., Trumbore, S.E., Randerson, J. T. (2020). The age distribution of global soil carbon inferred from radiocarbon measurements. Nature Geoscience, 13, 555-559. DOI:10.1038/s41561-020-0596-z.


Schuur, E.A., Druffel, E.R., Trumbore, S.E. (Eds.). (2016). Radiocarbon and Climate Change: Mechanisms, Applications and Laboratory Techniques. Cam: Springer. DOI:10.1007/978-3-319-25643-6.

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