Climate Science Program

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Sauer Tom

Associate Professor



Office: 214 NLAE

Phone: 515-294-3416


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Department: USDA-ARS National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment,
Agronomy (Courtesy Appointment)

Research Interests: Surface/soil interaction, soil and canopy CO2 flux measurement, land use effects on soil organic carbon storage

Brief description of current research:

Dr. Sauer is a Research Soil Scientist in the Air Quality of Agricultural Systems research unit of the National Soil Tilth Laboratory.  His research program focuses on soil management practices and associated soil-atmosphere exchange mechanisms.  He currently serves as Lead Scientist of the project “Trace Gas Exchanges in Midwest Cropping Systems”, which includes long-term energy balance and CO2 flux measurements over crop fields and reconstructed prairie in central Iowa.  Current research projects involve quantifying spatial and/or temporal patterns of soil CO2 fluxes, soil organic carbon stocks, and related ecosystem services following land use changes (prairie and forest restoration) and isolation of the dominant biophysical soil quality factors controlling these processes.  With ISU collaborators, emphasis has been placed on improving measurement techniques for monitoring the soil thermal regime and in particular coupled flow of energy and water in near-surface soil layers.

Recent publications:

DeSutter, T. M., T. J. Sauer, T. B. Parkin, and J. L. Heitman. 2008. A subsurface, closed-loop system for soil carbon dioxide and its application to the gradient efflux approach. Soil Science Society of America Journal 72:126-134.

Sauer, T. J., C. A. Cambardella, and J. R. Brandle. 2007. Soil carbon and tree litter dynamics in a red cedar scotch pine shelterbelt. Agroforestry Systems 71:163-174.