Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory


Upcoming RCN Workshop in October 2013

Soil metagenomics: Enzymes, processes, and ecosystem function

This October, the Enzymes in the Environment Research Coordination Network will be co-hosting a workshop with the TerraGenome Research Coordination Network and at the 5th Annual Argonne Soil Metagenomics Meeting at the Indian Lakes Hilton in Bloomingdale, Illinois, USA.

The meeting will take place October 2–4, 2013. For program, please visit

Presentations on any aspect of soil metagenomics, including lab and field experiments that use metagenomic sequence data and those that focus on bioinformatics tools and techniques relevant to soil research are welcome. Research utilizing shotgun sequencing (metagenomes or metatranscriptomes) is especially encouraged, although community analysis (e.g., 16S) projects are welcome, particularly if they link community structure to function.

This workshop will provide a great opportunity for soil scientists, ecologists, computational scientists, and molecular microbiologists to discuss continuing challenges and share progress focused on the needs specific to soil metagenomics research. We hope to see you there!

We hope to see you there!


ESA Symposium!

The Ecology of Enzymes in the Environment: New Insights into Controls on Enzyme Production, in situ Activity, and Turnover and Their Roles in Ecosystem Responses to Environmental Change

The Enzymes in the Environment RCN will be hosting a symposium at the Ecological Society of America annual meeting in August 2013.

For more information, please visit:


New Review Paper!

"Soil enzymes in a changing environment: Current knowledge and future directions"

We recently published a review paper, led by Richard Burns, in Soil Biology & Biochemistry.

Download it here:


Special Issue in Biogeochemistry!

Enzymes in Biogeochemical Cycles: Integrating experimental data, theory, and models

This Biogeochemistry special issue that emerged from last year's Enzymes in the Environment Research Coordination Network workshop is nearly complete. The goal of the special issue is to report and synthesize recent progress in understanding the ecology of enzymes, their roles in driving biogeochemical processes, and the integration of enzymes into models.

We anticipate about 12 papers to be included in the special issue of Biogeochemistry. Several have already been accepted and preprints are available on the journal website:


New book!

New Book from Soil Science Society of America: Methods of Soil Enzymology (SSSA Book Series 9) Richard P. Dick, Editor

Methods of Soil Enzymology provides the first comprehensive set of vetted methods for studying enzymes in soils. Readers will especially benefit from the step-by-step explanation of the lab procedures, as well as background information for using these methods effectively and analyzing data. Topics include activity assays, enzyme extraction, and synthetic enzyme complexes. Each method covered includes background information, step-by-step descriptions of the procedure, and special comments regarding nuances, pitfalls, and interpretation of the method. Learn the latest research methods, including enzyme extraction methods and procedures for creating synthetic enzyme complexes, as well as the newest ways to use small-scale and high-throughput methods for enzyme activity assays.

Order info: Online |; Phone | 608-268-4960; Fax | 608-273-2021; Email |