When water falls as rain over the Andes of western South America, it begins a long journey across the continent that shapes the global and regional water cycle, influencing water availability as well as climate. During its journey, water carries with it particles and dissolved material that control the transfer of carbon and other life-essential nutrients to the Amazon lowlands. There, these nutrients feed one of Earth's most biodiverse and environmentally important systems. At the same time, they regulate the global cycles that steer planetary-scale environmental evolution.
This website provides an overview of ongoing research by a multidisciplinary, international team to investigate the interaction of chemical and physical processes that influence water and biogeochemical cycles across the transition from the Andes mountains to the Amazon floodplain. Studying the links between the Andes and the Amazon provides a unique opportunity to better understand the processes that make a habitable environment, how these have changed in the past (from hundreds to millions of years), and how they may change in the future.
Our research is focusing on the Madre de Dios river basin in southeastern Peru, a majestic region that spans from Andean montane cloud forest to lowland rain forest. The headwaters are largely protected as part of Manu National Park. We are combining intensive fieldwork with cutting-edge laboratory techniques to measure chemical signals of environmental processes.
This research is currently supported primarily by funding from the US National Science Foundation through the Geobiology and Low-temperature Geochemistry program. Graduate students and collaborators involved in this work have also received financial support from the University of Southern California, Oxford University, and the UK, European, and Canadian science research councils.