Aaron Thompson

Professor of Environmental Soil Chemistry, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences

Professional Website


Ph.D. Soil and Water Chemistry, Univ. of Arizona
M.S. Soil Chemistry, Univ. of California – Riverside
B.S.E. Chemical Engineering, Univ. of Michigan

Research Interests

My research interests center on understanding biogeochemical processes in complex environmental systems such as soils and sediments. In broad terms my operational research mission is to bridge the gap between observation-based field work on fully-functioning ecosystems and mechanistic laboratory experiments on model systems. I approach this in the lab by working primarily with whole soils or sediments in experiments designed to mimic key features of natural systems; and in the field by targeting field sites coupled by systematic variation in process parameters.

A large portion of my current research effort is dedicated to revealing process-level changes in Fe cycling under temporally dynamic redox conditions and the subsequent implications for nutrient and contaminant behavior. This requires careful design of laboratory apparati and experiments to mimic the dynamic conditions in natural systems, which I find very rewarding because it allows me to apply engineering fundamentals to design simulated soil environmental conditions. Working with complex systems also necessitates the use of a broad suite of analytical techniques that often need to evolve with each project. This need for high-end analytical expertise affords opportunities for me to work with specialized scientists and instruments such as multi-collector ICP-MS, Mössbauer and more recently synchrotron-based spectroscopies. Finally, I find integrating measured biogeochemical data into kinetic/thermodynamic-based modeling an important step toward understanding at a systems level.

I’ve had the great fortune to work with many excellent field scientists who have provided access to truly exceptional field sites. I am currently working at three well-established field sites in Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Georgia.

Selected Publications

Barcellos, D., Morris, L.A., Nzengung, V., Moura, T., Mantripragada, N., and Thompson, A. (2016). Eucalyptus urograndis and Pinus taeda Enhance Removal of Chlorobenzene and Benzene in Contaminated Soils: A Greenhouse Study. International Journal of Phytoremediation, 18(10): 977-984 Barcellos_et_al_2016_IJP_Eucalyptus_Pinus_chlorobenzene_benzene_Greenhouse

Perdrial, N., La Sharr, K., Thompson, A., Amistadi, M.K., and Chorover, J. (In Press). Quantifying particulate and colloidal release of radionuclides in analog Hanford sediments. J. Environ. Qual. Perdrial_JEQ_2015.pdf

Mehring, A.S., Kuehn, K.A., Thompson, A., Vellidis, G., Pringle, C.M., Rosemond, A.D., First, M.R., Lowrance, R.R. (In Press). Leaf Litter nutrient uptake in an intermittent blackwater river: Influence of tree species and associated biotic and abiotic drivers. Functional Ecology. DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.12399.

Pasakarnis, T., McCormick, M., Parkin, G.F., Thompson, A., and Scherer, M.M. (2015). Fe(II)aq – Fe(III)oxide electron transfer and mixing: Effect of organic carbon. Environmental Chemistry 12: 52-63. Pasakarnis_EnvChem._2015.pdf

Bern, C.R., Thompson, A., and Chadwick, O.A. (2015). Quantification of colloidal vs. aqueous element transfer in soils: The dual-phase mass balance model. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 151: 1-18. Bern_GCA_2015.pdf

Tishchenko, V., Meile, C., Scherer, M., Pasakarnis, T., and Thompson, A. (2015). Fe2+ catalyzed iron atom exchange and re-crystallization in a tropical soil. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 148: 191-202. Tishchenko_GCA_2015.pdf

Huang, L-M., Thompson, A., Zhang, G-L., Chen, L-M., Han, G-Z., Gong, Z-T. (2015). The use of chronosequences in studies of paddy soil evolution: A review. Geoderma 237-238: 199-210. Huang_Geoderma_2015.pdf

Huang, L-M., Yang, J-L., Thompson, A., Rossiter, D.G., Zuo, S-M., Zhang, G-L. (2015). Proton production from nitrogen transformation drives stream export of base cations in acid-sensitive forested watersheds. Ecological Indicators 48: 348-357. Huang_EcolIndicators_2015.pdf

Perdrial, N., Thompson, A., O’Day, P., Steefel, C.I., and Chorover, J. (2014). Mineral transformation controls solid-phase speciation and pore-fluid transmission of contaminants in waste-weathered Hanford sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 141: 487-507. Perdrial_GCA_2014.pdf

Huang, L-M., Thompson, A., Zhang, G-L. (2014). Long-term paddy cultivation significantly alters topsoil phosphorus transformation and degrades phosphorus sorption capacity. Soil and Tillage Research 142: 32-41. Huang_S&TR_2014.pdf

Buettner, S., Kramer, M., Chadwick, O.A. and Thompson, A. (2014). Mobilization of colloidal carbon during iron reduction events in basaltic soils. Geoderma 221-222, 139-145. Buettner_Geoderma_2014.pdf

Ginn, B., Habteselassie, M.Y., Meile, C. and Thompson A. (2014). Effects of sample storage on Fe reduction in tropical soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 68, 44-51. Ginn_SB&B_2014.pdf

Mehring, A.S., Lowrance, R. R., Helton, A. M., Pringle, C. M., Thompson, A., Bosch, D. D., and Vellidis, G. (2013). Inter-annual drought length governs dissolved organic carbon dynamics in blackwater rivers of western upper Suwannee River basin. J. Geophys. Res. Biogeosci., 118, 1636-1645. Mehring_JGR-BioGeo_2013.pdf

Thompson, A., Amistadi, M.K., Chadwick, O.A., and J. Chorover (2013). Fractionation of yttrium and holmium during basaltic soil weathering. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 119. 18-30. Thompson_GCA_2013.pdf

Huang, L-M. Zhang, G-L, Thompson, A., Rossiter, D.G. (2013). Pedogenic Transformation of Phosphorus during Paddy Soil Development on Calcareous and Acid Parent Materials. Soil Science Society of America Journal 77, 2078-2088. Huang_SSSA_2013.pdf

Henderson, R., Kabengi, N., Mantripragada, N., Cabrera, M., Hassan, S., and Thompson A. (2012). Anoxia-induced release of colloid and nanoparticle-bound phosphorus in grassland soils. Environ. Sci. Technol. 46. 11727-11734 Henderson_ES&T_2012.pdf.

<Thompson, A. and Goyne, K. W. (2012) Introduction to the Sorption of Chemical Constituents in Soils. Nature Education Knowledge 3(6):15

Perdrial, N., Rivera, N., Thompson, A., O’Day, P. and, Chorover, J. (2011) Trace contaminant concentration affects mineral transformation and pollutant fate in hydroxide-weathered Hanford sediments. Journal of Hazardous Materials 197. 119-127. Perdrial_JHM_2011.pdf,

Richter, D. d., Bacon, A. R., Megan, L. M., Richardson, C. J., Andrews, S. S., West, L., Wills, S., Billings, S., Cambardella, C. A., Cavallaro, N., DeMeester, J. E., Franzluebbers, A. J., Grandy, A. S., Grunwald, S., Gruver, J., Hartshorn, A. S., Janzen, H., Kramer, M. G., Ladha, J. K., Lajtha, K., Liles, G. C., Markewitz, D., Megonigal, P. J., Mermut, A. R., Rasmussen, C., Robinson, D. A., Smith, P., Stiles, C. A., Tate, R. L., Thompson, A., Tugel, A. J., van Es, H., Yaalon, D., and Zobeck, T. M. (2011) Human-Soil Relations are Changing Rapidly: Proposals from SSSA’s Cross-Divisional Soil Change Working Group. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 75, 2079-2084.

Bera, M., Radcliffe, D.E., Cabrera, M.L., Vencill, W.K., Thompson, A., and S. Hassan. (2011) Estradiol and testosterone sorption in soil with and without poultry litter. J. Environ. Qual. 40. 1983-1990. Bera_JEQ_2011.pdf

Chang H-S, Um, W., Rod, K., Serne, J.R., Thompson, A., Perdrial, N., Steefel, C., and Chorover, J. (2011) Release mechanism of strontium and cesium from the weathered Hanford sediment in unsaturated condition. Environ. Sci. Technol. 45.8313-8320. Chang_ES&T_2011.pdf.

Kabengi, N.J. and Thompson A. (2011) The emerging emphasis on nanometer-scale processes in soil environments. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 75. 333-334. Kabengi_SSSA_2011.pdf

Thompson A., Rancourt D. G., Chadwick O. A., and Chorover J. (2010) Iron solid-phase differentiation along a redox gradient in basaltic soils. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 75. 119-133. Thompson_GCA_2010.pdf.

Thompson A., Steefel C.I., Perdrial N., Chorover J. (2010) Contaminant desorption during long-term leaching of hydroxide-weathered Hanford sediments. Environ. Sci. Technol. 44. 1992-1997. Thompson_ES&T_2010.pdf.

Dontsova, K., Steefel, C.I., Desilets, S., Thompson, A., and C horover J. (2009) Solid phase evolution in the Biosphere 2 hillslope experiment as predicted by modeling of hydrologic and geochemical fluxes. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci. 13. 2273-2286. Dontsova_HESS_2009.pdf.

Chorover J., Choi S., Rotenberg P., Serne R.J., Rivera N., Strepka C., Thompson A., Mueller K.T., and O’Day P.A. (2008) Silicon control of strontium and cesium partitioning in hydroxide-weathered sediments. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 72. 2024-2047. Chorover_GCA_2008.pdf.

Thompson A., Ruiz J., Titus, M., Chadwick O. A., and Chorover J.(2007) Rayleigh fractionation of iron isotopes during pedogenesis along a climate sequence of Hawaiian basalt. Chem. Geol. 238. 72-87.Thompson_ChemGeol_2007.pdf

Thompson A., Chadwick O. A., Bowman S. and Chorover J.(2006) Colloid mobilization during soil iron redox oscillations. Environ. Sci. Technol. 40. 5743-5749. Thompson_ES&T_2006.pdf.

Thompson A., Chadwick O. A., Rancourt D. G., and Chorover J. (2006) Iron-oxide crystallinity increases during soil redox oscillations. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 70. 1710-1727. Thompson_GCA_2006.pdf.

Thompson, A., Parker, D. R., and Amrhein, C. (2003) Selenate partitioning in field-situated constructed wetland mesocosms. Ecological Engineering 20. 17-30. Thompson_EcolEng_2003.pdf.