Date of Completion


Document Type

Honors College Thesis


Environmental Sciences

Thesis Type

Honors College, Environmental Studies Electronic Thesis

First Advisor

Dr. Carol Adair

Second Advisor

Dr. Aimee Classen

Third Advisor

Dr. Eric Roy


nitrous oxide, agriculture, greenhouse gas, freeze-thaw cycle, management


Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a greenhouse gas 298 times more powerful than carbon dioxide (CO2), and is a source of ozone-depleting nitrogen oxides. Agricultural soils are estimated to account for over 75% of anthropogenic N2O emissions and 23-31% of total global N2O emissions (Charles et al., 2017). Soil release of N2O is primarily from the biological processes of nitrification and denitrification, with large emission fluxes surrounding freeze-thaw cycles (FTCs). While increasing numbers of studies on agricultural- and FTC-induced N2O emissions have been done over recent decades, there is still little understanding of potential interactions between agricultural management practices and FTCs. The purpose of this study is to identify the source of N2O emissions during FTCs – nitrification or denitrification – and the drivers of these emissions from conventional versus Best Management Practice (BMP) agricultural fields. An incubation study was conducted using soil samples from each field. The samples were subject to a frozen or thaw treatment, during which N2O emissions and potential drivers of nitrification and denitrification (e.g., nitrate, nitrite, ammonium, and microbial biomass and activity) were measured. Understanding the source and driving factors of N2O emissions from agricultural fields is important, as it will shape management practices of these lands to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.


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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.