Our research combines molecular biology and biogeochemical techniques. This interdisciplinary approach creates new ways to probe one of the most critical questions in ecosystem ecology: What governs how the nitrogen cycle interacts with massive nutrient loading and global climate change? The goal of our research is to make fine-scale measurements of microbially-mediated nitrogen transformations and scale those rates to understand nitrogen inputs and losses at the ecosystem level. The Newell Lab focuses on rates of nitrogen transformations (nitrogen fixation, nitrification, anammox, and denitrification) and the relationship between those rates and the diversity and abundance of functional genes, which control key steps of each process.Human impacts have altered the nitrogen cycle more than any other: our planet now processes 4 times the fixed nitrogen annually than it did 100 years ago! This excess nitrogen has serious consequences for our surface and coastal waters. We are interested in the interactions between global climate change, gross human perturbation of the nitrogen cycle, and subsequent changes in ecosystem function. The Newell Lab works to quantify the changes to our natural systems from nitrogen loading and try to mitigate them.