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Corey Lawrence

Research Geologist

Contact Info

Short Biography

I am currently a USGS Research Geologist at the National Research Program Western Branch in Menlo Park, California and I am part of the USGS Soil Biogeochemistry GroupThe overarching objectives of my research are to describe and quantify natural biogeochemical processes at the Earth's surface and to determine how these processes will respond to cliamte and/or landuse change. Many biogeochemical processes that are important for life occur in the region bounded by bedrock from below and the atmosphere from above. Earth systems processes occurring in this region, sometimes referred to as the 'Critical Zone', are often dominated by exchanges between the lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere. Over long timescales, the flux of matter and energy shapes both the physical structure and chemical composition of the critical zone and over shorter timescales, these features determine how the system responds to disturbances. Developing a mechanistic understanding of the processes controlling these fluxes is essential for predicting and managing the quality our environmental resources and the sustainability of our agricultural systems.



Ph.D., Geological Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 2009   
B.S., Environmental Science & Policy, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, 2002
B.S., Biology, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, 2002

Professional Experience

Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park, CA, 2009-2011
Postdoctoral Research Affiliate, U.S. Geological Survey, Moab, UT, 2009
Research Assistant, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 2004-2009
Research Assistant, The Ecosystems Centers, Woods Hole, MA, 2002-2004
Undergraduate Researcher, Toolik Lake LTER, Toolik Lake, AK, 2001
Research Assistant, Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY, 2000
Research Intern, Atmospheric Science Research Center, Wilmington, NY, 1999

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Lawrence, C.R., R. L. Reynolds, M. E. Ketterer and J. C. Neff (2013). Aeolian controls of soil geochemistry and weathering fluxes in high-elevation ecosystems of the Rocky Mountains, Colorado. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 107 (2013): 27-46.

Ballantyne, A.P., Brahney, J., Fernandez, D., Lawrence, C.R., Saros, J., and Neff, J.C. (2011). Biogeochemical response of alpine lakes to a recent increase in dust deposition in the Southwestern, US. Biogeosciences, 8, 2689-2706. doi:10.5194/bg-8-2689-2011 [Link]

Lawrence, C. R., Neff, J. C., & Farmer, G. L. (2011). The accretion of aeolian dust in soils of the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, USA. Journal of Geophysical Research, 116(F2). doi:10.1029/2010JF001899

Lawrence, C.R., Painter, T.H., Landry, C.C., and Neff, J.C. (2010), Contemporary geochemical composition and flux of aeolian dust to the San Juan Mountains, Colorado, United States, J. Geophys. Res., 115, G03007, doi:10.1029/2009JG001077.

Lawrence, C.R., Neff, J.C. and Schimel, J.S. (2009) Does adding microbial mechanisms of decomposition improve soil organic matter models? A comparison of four models using data from a pulsed rewetting experiment. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 41: 1923-1934.

Lawrence, C.R. and Neff, J.C. (2009) The contemporary physical and chemical flux of aeolian dust: A synthesis of direct measurements of dust deposition. Chemical Geology 267: 46-63.

Neff, J.C., Ballantyne, A.P., Farmer, G.L., Mahowald, N., Conroy, J.L., Landry, C.C., Overpeck, J.T., Painter, T.H., Lawrence, C.R. and Reynolds, R.L. (2008) Increasing eolian dust deposition in the Western United States linked to human activity. Nature Geoscience, 1(3): 189-195.

Painter, T.H., Barrett, A.P., Landry, C.C., Neff, J.C., Cassidy, M.P., Lawrence, C.R., McBride, K.E. and Farmer, G.L. (2007) Impact of disturbed desert soils on duration of mountain snow cover. Geophysical Research Letters, 34(12).


My Science Topics

Science Topic
Geologic Processeserosion
Geologic Processesgeochemistry
Geologic Processessoil chemistry
Geologic Processeswater chemistry

My USGS Science Strategy Areas

Understanding Ecosystems & Predicting Ecosystems Change

Climate Variability & Change

Biogeochemistry of the Critical Zone

Image of Current Focus for Biogeochemistry of the Critical Zone

My current research is focused toward two relevant biogeochemical issues in the critical zone: (1) the long-term storage and stability of organic carbon in soils and (2) the atmospheric transport and deposition of aeolian dust. These research areas are linked through a shared emphasis on understanding the processes controlling the development and evolution of soil resources and through potential feedbacks to climate. I use many traditional biogeochemical techniques to address these research topics but I specialize in integration of isotopic tracers and mathematical models to better characterize natural processes. 


Contact Information

Corey Lawrence
Bldg 15, McKelvey Building, 345 Middlefield Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025-3561
650-329-4538 - Fax
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