Joost van Haren

Title & Affiliation: 
Assistant Research Professor, Biosphere 2 and Honors College, University of Arizona
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, University of Arizona

My research focuses on understanding biogeochemical cycles of carbon, nitrogen and water in particular in tropical ecosystems.  Tropical ecosystems are among the most dynamic ecosystems that have strong feedbacks to human disturbance.  Deforestation and climate change both affect the biogeochemical cycles in tropical forests and we mainly measure greenhouse gas fluxes and couple these to biological activity.  Currently, we work on understanding carbon and water cycling in tropical peatlands, more specifically, methane emissions from these ecosystems and also how land-use change affects methane fluxes and the microbial community responsible for the methane fluxes.

In Biosphere 2 we use both the tropical rainforest and the LEO hillslopes to better understand the carbon and water cycling in these disparate ecosystems.  In LEO, we look at the carbon cycling and how weathering is affected by precipitation events.  In the rainforest, we particularly look at how individual species and the whole ecosystem respond to changes in temperature and precipitation.  During drought experiments we work together with Dr. Jeffrey McDonnell to determine where tropical trees get their water from and how this changes with rainfall events.


Model Systems


2017 (Published)

CO2 diffusion into pore spaces limits weathering rate of an experimental basalt landscape . van Haren, J., Dontsova, K., Barron-Gafford, G. A., Troch, P. A., Chorover, J., Delong, S. B., Breshears, D. D., Huxman, T. E., Pelletier J. D., Saleska, S. R., Xeng, X., and Ruiz, J. (2017): Geology 45(3): 203-206.

2017 (Published)

Improving the accuracy of the gradient method for determining soil carbon dioxide efflux . Sánchez-Cañete, E. P., Scott, R. L., van Haren, J., and Barron-Gafford, G. A. (2017): Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 122(1): 50-64.

2016 (Published)

Between control and complexity: opportunities and challenges for marine mesocosms . Sagarin, R.D., Adams, J., Blanchette, C.A., Brusca, R.C., Chorover, J., Cole, J.E., Micheli, F., Munguia-Vega, A., Rochman, C.M., Bonine, K., van Haren, J. and Troch, P.A. (2016): Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 14(7): 389–396.

2015 (Published)

The Landscape Evolution Observatory: A large-scale controllable infrastructure to study coupled Earth-surface processes . Pangle, L.A., DeLong, S.B., Abramson, N., Adams, J., Barron-Gafford, G.A., Breshears, D.D., Brooks, P.D., Chorover, J., Dietrich, W.E., Dontsova, K., Durcik, M., Espeleta, J., Ferre, T.P.A., Ferriere, R., Henderson, W., Hunt, E.A., Huxman, T.E., Millar, D., Murphy, B., Niu, G-Y., Pavao-Zuckerman, M., Pelletier, J.D., Rasmussen, C., Ruiz, J., Saleska, S., Schaap, M., Sibayan, M., Troch, P.A., Tuller, M., van Haren, J., Zeng, X. (2015): Geomorphology 244: 190-203.

2015 (Published)

The Effect of Drought on Stomatal Conductance in the Biosphere 2 Rainforest . Gay, J. and van Haren, J. (2015): STAR (STEM Teacher and Researcher) Program Posters.


Rapid CO2 consumption during incipient weathering of a granular basaltic hillslope in the Landscape Evolution Observatory, Biosphere 2 . Ruiz, J., Van Haren, J., Dontsova, K., Barron-Gafford, G., Troch, P., Chorover J. (2014): Abstract V23A-4778 presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 15-19 Dec.


Monitoring and Modeling Water, Energy and Carbon Fluxes at the Hillslope Scale in the Landscape Evolution Observatory . Troch, P., Barron-Gafford, G., Dontsova, K., Fang, Y., Niu, G.-Y., Pangle, L., Tuller, M., Van Haren, J. (2014): Abstract H43L-1128 presented at 2014 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 15-19 Dec.

2014 (Published)

Phytogenic biosynthesis and emission of methyl acetate . Jardine, K., Wegener, F., Abrell, L., van Haren, J. and Werner, C. (2014): Plant, Cell & Environment 37(2): 414–424.


Precipitation pulse dynamics of carbon sequestration and efflux in highly weatherable soils . Barron-Gafford, G., Minor, R., Van Haren, J.L., Dontsova, K., Troch, P.A. (2013): Abstract EP13C-0879 presented at 2013 Fall Meeting, AGU, San Francisco, CA, 9-13 Dec.