Global biogeochemistry is fundamentally the study of Earth’s metabolism. It describes the transformations undergone by essential elements like water, carbon and nitrogen as they are transported and cycled among the ‘spheres’ of the Earth, i.e. the biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere and the overall climate system. This also includes the energetics involved in moving elements among different phases or molecular settings, and the key role played by biological organisms – including human activities - in these exchanges.
The overall scientific mission of our institute is to diagnose and trace ongoing changes in global biogeochemical cycles and to identify the key processes that govern global biogeochemical dynamics under current and past or future environmental conditions. Our main focus is on understanding the influence of terrestrial biota on global biogeochemical cycles, because the land’s role is among the largest uncertainties in global budgets of several of the major biogeochemical elements.