Renowned ecologist to speak on forest carbon research in Petersham


Staff Report
Published: 10/22/2022 6:46:47 PM
Modified: 10/22/2022 6:46:35 PM

PETERSHAM — A leading authority in radiocarbon dating will give a free public lecture next week on forest carbon research at the Fisher Museum. 

The presentation by Susan Trumbore is scheduled for 11 a.m. to noon and is being hosted by Harvard Forest. 

Trumbore is internationally recognized as the leading authority in applying radiocarbon dating to environmental science, according to organizers. She is the director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry and Professor of Earth System Science at the University of California, Irvine. The presentation also will be live-streamed online and recorded.

Trumbore is the inaugural presenter of the Harvard University’s Charles Bullard Lectures. The lecture series was established by Harvard Forest in 2022 to honor and learn from renowned scholars of forest ecology and conservation, according to the university. Every autumn, the lecturer will present both in Cambridge and in Petersham.

The lecture in Petersham will focus on the amount of time carbon remains in ecosystems before it is returned to the atmosphere.

The answer is important because it tells us how we might be able to better manage forest plants and soils to store carbon,” Harvard Forest wrote in an annoucement about the talk.  “Dr. Trumbore will use data from the new International Soil Radiocarbon Database to demonstrate how carbon transit times change globally, suggest how we can use this information to test global carbon cycle models, and what we can learn about better managing soils to take up carbon.”

Trumbore’s honors include election to the Academia Europaea and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and election as a Fellow of the Geochemical Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She has been awarded the Marsh Award for Climate Change Research, the Balzan Prize in Earth System Dynamics, the Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky Medal of the EGU, and the Benjamin Franklin Medal for Earth and Environmental Science.

This event in the Harvard Forest Fisher Museum at 324 North Main St., Petersham, is free and open to the public. No RSVPs are required. The Harvard Forest welcomes people with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. If you require accommodations, or have questions about the event, please contact Clarisse Hart, Director of Outreach, at 978-756-6157,

To attend the event online, to access the recording after the event, and to learn more about Trumbore’s presentation in Cambridge, visit

The Harvard Forest was founded in 1907 and is Harvard University's outdoor laboratory and classroom for ecology and conservation, and a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site funded by the National Science Foundation. Its 4,000-acre property, located on unceded Nipmuc land, is one of the oldest and most intensively studied research forests in the U.S.  Open to the public year-round, the site includes educational and research facilities, the Fisher Museum, and miles of recreational trails. Harvard Forest scientists and educators host educational programs for thousands of K12 and university students each year and also work closely with the Nipmuc people to ensure that the land and its benefits are mutually accessible and sustaining. Learn more at

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