Home - Denitrification Research Coordination Network

Integration Across Landscapes and Waterscapes


Advancing Methods for Measuring Denitrification in Terrestrial and Aquatic Systems

May 27-30, 2008
At Horn Point Laboratory - University of Maryland, Cambridge, Maryland, USA

Denitrification is difficult to measure because of the analytical difficulty in detecting small increases in N2 concentrations against the large background in the environment.  A number of recent advances in approaches to directly quantify denitrification in aquatic and terrestrial environments have been made, but few people are trained to use these newer approaches. 

This second workshop in the Denitrification RCN series focused on recent advances in denitrification measurement techniques in terrestrial and aquatic environments.  This workshop included invited talks, discussion sessions, and hands-on, training demonstrations of three advanced techniques for measuring denitrification in aquatic and terrestrial systems: membrane inlet mass spectrometry, gas-flow soil core with N2 chromatography, and isotope pairing.  This workshop was co-sponsored by the RCN and Maryland Sea Grant, with additional support from Bay Instruments and Pfeiffer Vacuum.

Steering Committee: Mark Altabet, Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, Jeff Cornwell, Eric Davidson, Anne Giblin, Todd Kana, Rosalynn Lee, Sybil Seitzinger

AGENDA [pdf]


Opening plenaries.

Methods training

Evening plenary.

  • Looking for nitrogen fixation and denitrification in all of the right places. Lou Codispoti [PDF]


Opening plenaries.

Methods training.



Hot and controversial topics.

Training roundtables.


Scaling: From cores and incubations to whole systems discussion.
State of the art and fantasy instrumentation discussion [PDF notes] [Methods reference]
Future RCN activities & workshops. Eric Davidson


  • N2O:N2 ratio systems meta-analysis. We may not be able to say much more then we already know. However, synthesizing the current state of knowledge will be very useful to help us ask better questions, particularly as we move into the future with better techniques. Plus to my knowledge, there are no real aquatic-terrestrial cross comparisons on the topic, so I am quite excited to look at this question on a comparative, global scale.  Please contact Roxane Maranger to contribute.
  • Nitrogen fixation in marine environments.  If you would like to participate in a synthesis paper to gather as many negative N2 fluxes measured by MIMS together and discuss some possible explanations and mechanisms for why N fixation is occurring, please contact Wally Fulweiler.
  • Denitrification across the dry to wet gradient in soils and sediments.  Monica Palta

FRONT (L-R): Philip Taylor, Victor Rivera-Monroy, Kevin Kroeger, Anthony Aufdenkampe, Amy Burgin, Xiaoyuan Yan, Madhura Kulkarni, Maira Bezerra, Marife Corre, Rosalynn Lee, Wendy Yang, Ursula Mahl, Hilairy Hartnett, Tom Fisher, Patrick Inglett, Michelle D’Aguillo, Ami Nishri. MIDDLE: Tsega Gsilassie, Fleur Matheson, Yonghui Gao, Monica Palta, Annelies Veraart, Rebecca Fox, Mark Altabet, Roxane Maranger, Eric Davidson, Sybil Seitzinger, Rebecca Barnes, Wally Fulweiler, Peter Groffman, Maureen Caupp, Ibrahim Khalil. BACK: Mike Owens, Jianhua Hao, Barbara Deutsch, Marshall Bowles, Helen Baulch, Jen Morse, Jeff Cornwell, Luke Cole, Anne Giblin, Joel Kostka, Jane Tucker, Craig Smith, Dan Rogers, Klaus Butterbach-Bahl, Nick Brueggemann, Rebecca Phillips, Roger Burke.  Not shown: Jennifer Bosch, Lou Codispoti, Luke Cole, Ben Fertig, Anne Gustafson, Todd Kana, Andy Laursen, Daniel Dong-Yoon Lee, Mark McCarthy, Whendee Silver