Scientists & Staff
- I lead the Radiocarbon Collaborative, a collaboration-based research initiative sponsored by the Northern Research Station. The Radiocarbon Collaborative expands Forest Service researcher access to radiocarbon analysis, with the goal of assisting researchers in creating statistically robust radiocarbon datasets which address climate change and terrestrial carbon cycling science. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested in applying radiocarbon analysis to your research.
- Additionally, I participate in soil organic matter research with a focus on mechanisms of organic matter stabilization and mineralogy.
The response of the soil organic matter pool to climate change is currently the largest uncertainty in global C cycle models. My research is focused on elucidating the molecular-to-field scale mechanisms of organic C stabilization in soils, with the goal of improving our ability to predict soil C vulnerability to climate change and discovering methods of managing our soils to preserve soil C stocks.
Heckman K, Welty-Bernard A, Vazquez-Ortega A, Schwartz E, Chorover J, Rasmussen C (2013) The influence of goethite and gibbsite on soluble nutrient dynamics and microbial community composition. Biogeochemistry, 112(1): 179-195.
Heckman K, Vazquez-Ortega A, Gao X, Chorover J, Rasmussen C (2011) Changes in water extractable organic matter during incubation of forest floor material in the presence of quartz, goethite and gibbsite surfaces. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 75: 4295-4309.
Heckman K, Rasmussen C (2011) Lithologic controls on regolith weathering and mass flux in forested ecosystems of the southwestern USA. Geoderma, 164: 99-111.
Heckman K, Welty-Bernard A, Rasmussen C, Schwartz E (2009) Geologic controls of soil carbon cycling and microbial dynamics in temperate conifer forests. Chemical Geology 267: 12-23.
Heckman K, Anderson WB, Wait DA (2006) Distribution and activity of hypolithic soil crusts in a hyperarid desert (Baja California, Mexico). Biology and Fertility of Soils 43: 263-266.
Why This Research is Important
Radiocarbon dating is a unique and powerful tool for the analysis of ecosystem processes. Incorporation of radiocarbon analyses into a broader range of controlled experiments and field studies stands to vastly improve both our understanding of C cycling processes in ecosystems and the response of those ecosystems to changes in climate conditions.
- University of Arizona, Water & Environmental Science, Ph.D. Soil, Water & Environmental Science, 2010
- Drury University, B.A. Biology & Environmental Science, 2004
- Associate Editor, Geoderma 2016 - Current
- Adjunct faculty, Michigan Technological University 2016 - Current
- Research Biological Scientist, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service 2015 - Current
- Associate Editor, Journal of Environmental Quality 2014 - 2017
- Affiliate scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab 2012 - 2015
- Visiting scientist, Center for Accelerator Mass Spectrometry Lawrence Livermore National Lab 2011 - 2015
- Postdoctoral Researcher, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service 2011 - 2015
- Research Assistant/Associate, Soil, Water & Environmental Science Department, University of Arizona 2006 - 2010
- Soil Science Society of America
- Association for Women in Soil Science
- Geological Society of America
- American Geophysical Union
Publications & Products
- Fernandez, Christopher W.; Heckman, Katherine ; Kolka, Randall ; Kennedy, Peter G. 2019. Melanin mitigates the accelerated decay of mycorrhizal necromass with peatland warming. Ecology Letters
- Blankinship, Joseph C.; Berhe, Asmeret Asefaw; Crow, Susan E.; Druhan, Jennifer L.; Heckman, Katherine A.; Keiluweit, Marco ; Lawrence, Corey R.; Marín-Spiotta, Erika ; Plante, Alain F.; Rasmussen, Craig ; Schädel, Christina ; Schimel, Joshua P.; Sierra, Carlos A.; Thompson, Aaron ; Wagai, Rota ; Wieder, William R. 2018. Improving understanding of soil organic matter dynamics by triangulating theories, measurements, and models. Biogeochemistry
- Harden, Jennifer W.; Hugelius, Gustaf ; Ahlström, Anders ; Blankinship, Joseph C.; Bond-Lamberty, Ben ; Lawrence, Corey R.; Loisel, Julie ; Malhotra, Avni ; Jackson, Robert B.; Ogle, Stephen ; Phillips, Claire ; Ryals, Rebecca ; Todd-Brown, Katherine ; Vargas, Rodrigo ; Vergara, Sintana E.; Cotrufo, M. Francesca; Keiluweit, Marco ; Heckman, Katherine A.; Crow, Susan E.; Silver, Whendee L.; DeLonge, Marcia ; Nave, Lucas E. 2018. Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter. Global Change Biology
- Heckman, Katherine ; Lawrence, Corey R.; Harden, Jennifer W. 2018. A sequential selective dissolution method to quantify storage and stability of organic carbon associated with Al and Fe hydroxide phases. Geoderma
- Heckman, Katherine ; Throckmorton, Heather ; Horwath, William ; Swanston, Christopher ; Rasmussen, Craig. 2018. Variation in the Molecular Structure and Radiocarbon Abundance of Mineral-Associated Organic Matter across a Lithosequence of Forest Soils. Soil Systems
- Nave, Lucas ; Heckman, Katherine ; Muñoz, Alexandra ; Swanston, Christopher W. 2018. Radiocarbon Suggests the Hemiparasitic Annual Melampyrum Lineare Desr. May Acquire Carbon from Stressed Hosts. Radiocarbon
- Rasmussen, Craig ; Heckman, Katherine ; Wieder, William R.; Keiluweit, Marco ; Lawrence, Corey R.; Berhe, Asmeret Asefaw; Blankinship, Joseph C.; Crow, Susan E.; Druhan, Jennifer L.; Hicks Pries, Caitlin E.; Marin-Spiotta, Erika ; Plante, Alain F.; Schädel, Christina ; Schimel, Joshua P.; Sierra, Carlos A.; Thompson, Aaron ; Wagai, Rota. 2018. Beyond clay: towards an improved set of variables for predicting soil organic matter content. Biogeochemistry
- Rasmussen, Craig ; Throckmorton, Heather ; Liles, Garrett ; Heckman, Katherine ; Meding, Stephen ; Horwath, William. 2018. Controls on Soil Organic Carbon Partitioning and Stabilization in the California Sierra Nevada. Soil Systems
- Bailey, Vanessa L.; Bond-Lamberty, Ben ; DeAngelis, Kristen ; Grandy, A. Stuart; Hawkes, Christine V; Heckman, Kate ; Lajtha, Kate ; Phillips, Richard P.; Sulman, Benjamin N.; Todd-Brown, Katherine E. O.; Wallenstein, Matthew D. 2017. Soil carbon cycling proxies: Understanding their critical role in predicting climate change feedbacks. Global Change Biology
- Butnor, John R.; Samuelson, Lisa J.; Johnsen, Kurt H.; Anderson, Peter H.; Gonzalez Benecke, Carlos A.; Boot, Claudia M.; Cotrufo, M. Francesca; Heckman, Katherine A.; Jackson, Jason A.; Stokes, Thomas A.; Zarnoch, Stanley J. 2017. Vertical distribution and persistence of soil organic carbon in fire-adapted longleaf pine forests. Forest Ecology and Management
- Fox, Patricia M.; Nico, Peter S.; Tfaily, Malak M.; Heckman, Katherine ; Davis, James A. 2017. Characterization of natural organic matter in low-carbon sediments: Extraction and analytical approaches. Organic Geochemistry
- Heckman, Katherine; Torres, Dorisel; Swanston, Christopher; Lehmann, Johannes. 2017. Carbon and nitrogen molecular composition of soil organic matter fractions resistant to oxidation. Soil Research
- Lybrand, Rebecca A.; Heckman, Katherine ; Rasmussen, Craig. 2017. Soil organic carbon partitioning and Δ14C variation in desert and conifer ecosystems of southern Arizona. Biogeochemistry
- Nave, Lucas E.; Drevnick, Paul E.; Heckman, Katherine A.; Hofmeister, Kathryn L.; Veverica, Timothy J.; Swanston, Christopher W. 2017. Soil hydrology, physical and chemical properties and the distribution of carbon and mercury in a postglacial lake-plain wetland. Geoderma
- Ohno, Tsutomu ; Heckman, Katherine A.; Plante, Alain F.; Fernandez, Ivan J.; Parr, Thomas B. 2017. 14C mean residence time and its relationship with thermal stability and molecular composition of soil organic matter: A case study of deciduous and coniferous forest types. Geoderma
- Stewart, Joseph A. E.; Wright, David H.; Heckman, Katherine A.; Guralnick, Robert. 2017. Apparent climate-mediated loss and fragmentation of core habitat of the American pika in the Northern Sierra Nevada, California, USA. PLOS ONE
- Hribljan, John A.; Suarez, Esteban; Heckman, Katherine A.; Lilleskov, Erik; Chimner, Rodney A. 2016. Peatland carbon stocks and accumulation rates in the Ecuadorian páramo. Wetlands and Ecological Management. 24(2): 113:127.
- Millar, Constance I.; Heckman, Katherine; Swanston, Christopher; Schmidt, Karena; Westfall, Robert D.; Delany, Diane L. 2014. Radiocarbon dating of American pika fecal pellets provides insights into population extirpations and climate refugia. Ecological Applications. 24(7): 1748-1768
- Heckman, K.; Grandy, A.S.; Gao, X.; Keiluweit, M.; Wickings, K.; Carpenter, K.; Chorover, J.; Rasmussen, C. 2013. Sorptive fractionation of organic matter and formation of organo-hydroxy-aluminum complexes during litter biodegradation in the presence of gibbsite. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. 121: 667-683.
- Heckman, Katherine; Campbell, John L.; Powers, Heath; Law, Beverly E.; Swanston, Chris. 2013. The influence of fire on the radiocarbon signature and character of soil organic matter in the Siskiyou national forest, Oregon, USA. Fire Ecology. 9(2): 40-56.
Hribljan JA, Cooper DJ, Sueltenfuss J, Wolf E, Heckman K, Lilleskov EA, Chimner RA (2015) Carbon storage and long-term rate of accumulation in high altitude Andean peatlands of Bolivia. Mires and Peat, 15: 1-14
Kinney KM, Asner GP, Cordell S, Chadwick OA, Heckman K, Hotchkiss S, Jerai M, Kennedy-Bowdoin T, Knapp DE, Questad EJ, Thaxton JM, Trusdell F, Kellner JR (2015) Primary succession on a Hawaiian dryland chronosequene. PLoS ONE. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0123995
JA O'Donnell, GR Aiken, MA Walvoord, KD Butler, MM Dornblaser, K Heckman (2014) Using DOM age and composition to detect permafrost thaw in boreal streams of interior Alaska. Journal of Geographic Research-Biogeosciences, 199. DOI: 10.1002/2014JG002695
Heckman K, Throckmorton H, Clingensmith C, González Vila FJ, Horwath WR, Knicker H, Rasmussen C (2014) Factors affecting the molecular structure and mean residence time of occluded organics in a lithosequence of soils under ponderosa pine. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.05.028
National Research Highlights
The Forest Service provides nationwide support for carbon and climate research through the Radiocarbon Collaborative, which has supported a wide range of projects that have produced high-impact publications, as well as important information for land managers and conservationists. In 2017, the Radiocarbon Collaborative launched an online resource center featuring radiocarbon information and social networking opportunities.