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Aaron Thompson

Associate Professor
  • Ph.D. Soil and Water Chemistry (2005) Univ. of Arizona
    M.S. Soil Chemistry (1998) Univ. of California – Riverside
    B.S.E. Chemical Engineering (1995) Univ. of Michigan
  •  Office: 3101 Miller Plant Sciences
    Phone: 706.410.1293
    Fax: 706.542.0914
  • Mailing Address:
    3111 Miller Plant Sci.
    Dept. of Crop and Soil Science
    University of Georgia
    Athens, GA 30602
Research Interests

My research interests center on understanding biogeochemical processes in complex environmental systems such as soils and sediments. In broad terms my operational research mission is to bridge the gap between observation-based field work on fully-functioning ecosystems and mechanistic laboratory experiments on model systems. I approach this in the lab by working primarily with whole soils or sediments in experiments designed to mimic key features of natural systems; and in the field by targeting field sites coupled by systematic variation in process parameters.

A large portion of my current research effort is dedicated to revealing process-level changes in Fe cycling under temporally dynamic redox conditions and the subsequent implications for nutrient and contaminant behavior. This requires careful design of laboratory apparati and experiments to mimic the dynamic conditions in natural systems, which I find very rewarding because it allows me to apply engineering fundamentals to design simulated soil environmental conditions. Working with complex systems also necessitates the use of a broad suite of analytical techniques that often need to evolve with each project. This need for high-end analytical expertise affords opportunities for me to work with specialized scientists and instruments such as multi-collector ICP-MS, Mössbauer and more recently synchrotron-based spectroscopies. Finally, I find integrating measured biogeochemical data into kinetic/thermodynamic-based modeling an important step toward understanding at a systems level.

I’ve had the great fortune to work with many excellent field scientists who have provided access to truly exceptional field sites. I am currently working at three well-established field sites in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Georgia.