• Ruth Varner is a Professor of Biogeochemistry in the Department of Earth Sciences and the Earth Systems Research Center of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space.

    Her research is on trace gas emissions from terrestrial, aquatic and human-managed ecosystems. In her early career she focused on developing novel methods to measure very low-concentration, reactive halogenated trace gases. Over the past several decades she has established and maintained long-term measurements of methane emissions from wetlands and permafrost peatlands. She currently collaborates with microbial ecologists, remote sensing specialists, and modelers to address questions of scaling processes from regions to the globe. She integrates graduate and undergraduate students into her research and outreach. She has served as the Director of UNH’s Leitzel Center, where she developed and participated in professional development for K-12 STEM teachers. She has also served as the Director of the NSF REU Northern Ecosystems Research for Undergraduates program. She is currently the Director of the Collaborative Links to Ocean Science and Earth Science Graduate Academic Programs (CLOSES-GAP), an NSF GEOPATHS program collaborative with minority-serving institutions to broaden participation in the geosciences by engaging undergraduate students from traditionally underrepresented groups. She also co-directs the EMERGE Biological Integration Institute.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title
    2023 Nutrients Alter Methane Production and Oxidation in a Thawing Permafrost MireEcosystems.  26:302-317. 2023
    2022 Microtopography Matters: Belowground CH4 Cycling Regulated by Differing Microbial Processes in Peatland Hummocks and LawnsJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  127. 2022
    2022 Gaps in network infrastructure limit our understanding of biogenic methane emissions for the United StatesBiogeosciences.  19:2507-2522. 2022
    2022 Plant organic matter inputs exert a strong control on soil organic matter decomposition in a thawing permafrost peatland.Science of the Total Environment.  820:152757. 2022
    2022 Initial soil conditions outweigh management in a cool-season dairy farm's carbon sequestration potential.Science of the Total Environment.  809:152195. 2022
    2022 Coupling plant litter quantity to a novel metric for litter quality explains C storage changes in a thawing permafrost peatland.Global Change Biology.  28:950-968. 2022
    2022 Dominance of Diffusive Methane Emissions From Lowland Headwater Streams Promotes Oxidation and Isotopic EnrichmentFrontiers in Environmental Science.  9. 2022
    2022 Permafrost thaw driven changes in hydrology and vegetation cover increase trace gas emissions and climate forcing in Stordalen Mire from 1970 to 2014.Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences.  380:20210022. 2022
    2022 Carbon Accumulation, Flux, and Fate in Stordalen Mire, a Permafrost Peatland in TransitionGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles: an international journal of global change.  36. 2022
    2022 Variation in carbon and nitrogen concentrations among peatland categories at the global scale.PLoS ONE.  17:e0275149. 2022
    2021 Spatial and temporal heterogeneity of methane ebullition in lowland headwater streams and the impact on sampling design.Limnology and Oceanography.  66:4063-4076. 2021
    2021 BAWLD-CH4: a comprehensive dataset of methane fluxes from boreal and arctic ecosystemsEarth System Science Data.  13:5151-5189. 2021
    2021 The Boreal-Arctic Wetland and Lake Dataset (BAWLD)Earth System Science Data.  13:5127-5149. 2021
    2021 Diverse sediment microbiota shape methane emission temperature sensitivity in Arctic lakes.Nature Communications.  12:5815. 2021
    2021 Divergent Controls on Stream Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Across a Land-Use GradientEcosystems.  24:1299-1316. 2021
    2021 Management intensive grazing on New England dairy farms enhances soil nitrogen stocks and elevates soil nitrous oxide emissions without increasing soil carbonAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment.  317:107471-107471. 2021
    2021 Is A Common Goal A False Hope in Convergence Research?: Opportunities and Challenges of International Convergence Research to Address Arctic ChangeEarth's Future.  9. 2021
    2021 The missing pieces for better future predictions in subarctic ecosystems: A Torneträsk case study.Ambio.  50:375-392. 2021
    2021 Evidence for non-methanogenic metabolisms in globally distributed archaeal clades basal to the Methanomassiliicoccales.Environmental Microbiology.  23:340-357. 2021
    2020 COSORE: A community database for continuous soil respiration and other soil-atmosphere greenhouse gas flux data.Global Change Biology.  26:7268-7283. 2020
    2020 Stable Methane Isotopologues From Northern Lakes Suggest That Ebullition Is Dominated by Sub-Lake Scale ProcessesJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  125. 2020
    2020 The IsoGenie database: an interdisciplinary data management solution for ecosystems biology and environmental researchPeerJ.  8:e9467-e9467. 2020
    2020 Mercury reallocation in thawing subarctic peatlands (vol 11, pg 33, 2019)GEOCHEMICAL PERSPECTIVES LETTERS.  14:7-7. 2020
    2020 Biogeochemical and socioeconomic drivers of above- and below-ground carbon stocks in urban residential yards of a small cityLandscape and Urban Planning.  196:103724-103724. 2020
    2020 Thaw Transitions and Redox Conditions Drive Methane Oxidation in a Permafrost PeatlandJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  125. 2020
    2019 Mercury reallocation in thawing subarctic peatlandsGEOCHEMICAL PERSPECTIVES LETTERS.  11:33-38. 2019
    2019 Long-Term Measurements of Methane Ebullition From Thaw PondsJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  124:2208-2221. 2019
    2019 Discovery and ecogenomic context of a global Caldiserica-related phylum active in thawing permafrost, Candidatus Cryosericota phylum nov., Ca. Cryosericia class nov., Ca. Cryosericales ord. nov., Ca. Cryosericaceae fam. nov., comprising the four species Cryosericum septentrionale gen. nov. sp. nov., Ca. C. hinesii sp. nov., Ca. C. odellii sp. nov., Ca. C. terrychapinii sp. nov.Systematic and Applied Microbiology.  42:54-66. 2019
    2018 Determining Subarctic Peatland Vegetation Using an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS)Remote Sensing.  10:1498-1498. 2018
    2018 Sediment Characteristics and Methane Ebullition in Three Subarctic LakesJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  123:2399-2411. 2018
    2017 Adding stable carbon isotopes improves model representation of the role of microbial communities in peatland methane cyclingJournal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems.  9:1412-1430. 2017
    2016 Winter soil respiration in a humid temperate forest: The roles of moisture, temperature, and snowpackJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  121:3072-3088. 2016
    2016 Longer thaw seasons increase nitrogen availability for leaching during fall in tundra soilsEnvironmental Research Letters.  11:064013-064013. 2016
    2016 Climate-sensitive northern lakes and ponds are critical components of methane releaseNature Geoscience.  9:99-+. 2016
    2015 Field Test of a Remote Multi-Path CLaDS Methane Sensor.Diversity.  15:21315-21326. 2015
    2015 Short communication: Use of a portable, automated, open-circuit gas quantification system and the sulfur hexafluoride tracer technique for measuring enteric methane emissions in Holstein cows fed ad libitum or restricted.Journal of Dairy Science.  98:2676-2681. 2015
    2014 Effect of permafrost thaw on CO2 and CH4 exchange in a western Alaska peatland chronosequence (vol 9, 085004, 2013)Environmental Research Letters.  9:109601-109601. 2014
    2014 Dynamics of methane ebullition from a peat monolith revealed from a dynamic flux chamber systemJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  119:1789-1806. 2014
    2014 Effect of permafrost thaw on CO2 and CH4 exchange in a western Alaska peatland chronosequenceEnvironmental Research Letters.  9:085004-085004. 2014
    2014 Temperature and peat type control CO2 and CH4 production in Alaskan permafrost peats.Global Change Biology.  20:2674-2686. 2014
    2014 Energy input is primary controller of methane bubbling in subarctic lakesGeophysical Research Letters.  41:555-560. 2014
    2014 Effect of Carex rostrata on seasonal and interannual variability in peatland methane emissionsJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  119:24-34. 2014
    2013 Soil respiration in a northeastern US temperate forest: a 22-year synthesisEcosphere.  4:1-28. 2013
    2013 Multiyear measurements of ebullitive methane flux from three subarctic lakesJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  118:1307-1321. 2013
    2013 Plant community structure mediates potential methane production and potential iron reduction in wetland mesocosmsEcosphere.  4:1-17. 2013
    2012 Characterization of subsurface methane production and release over 3 years at a New Hampshire wetlandGeochimica et Cosmochimica Acta.  91:120-139. 2012
    2012 Endogenous circadian regulation of carbon dioxide exchange in terrestrial ecosystemsGlobal Change Biology.  18:1956-1970. 2012
    2012 Mass fluxes and isofluxes of methane (CH4) at a New Hampshire fen measured by a continuous wave quantum cascade laser spectrometerJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  117:n/a-n/a. 2012
    2011 High-frequency measurements of methane ebullition over a growing season at a temperate peatland siteGeophysical Research Letters.  38:n/a-n/a. 2011
    2011 Carbonyl sulfide exchange in a temperate loblolly pine forest grown under ambient and elevated CO2 (vol 10, pg 547, 2010)Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.  11:12037-12038. 2011
    2011 Thermal adaptation of net ecosystem exchangeBiogeosciences.  8:1453-1463. 2011
    2010 Interband cascade laser-based sensor for ambient CH4Optical Engineering.  49:111118-111118. 2010
    2010 Characterization of aerosol associated with enhanced small particle of number concentrations in a suburban forested environmentJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  115. 2010
    2010 Interannual, seasonal, and diel variation in soil respiration relative to ecosystem respiration at a wetland to upland slope at Harvard ForestJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  115:n/a-n/a. 2010
    2010 Carbonyl sulfide exchange in a temperate loblolly pine forest grown under ambient and elevated CO2Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.  10:547-561. 2010
    2009 Are biogenic emissions a significant source of summertime atmospheric toluene in the rural Northeastern United States?Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics.  9:81-92. 2009
    2008 Controls on atmospheric chloroiodomethane (CH2ClI) in marine environmentsJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  113. 2008
    2008 Bromoform and dibromomethane measurements in the seacoast region of New Hampshire, 2002-2004JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  113. 2008
    2008 Volatile organic compounds in northern New England marine and continental environments during the ICARTT 2004 campaignJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  113. 2008
    2007 A large terrestrial source of methyl iodideGeophysical Research Letters.  34. 2007
    2007 Nanoparticle growth following photochemical alpha- and beta-pinene oxidation at Appledore Island during International Consortium for Research on Transport and Transformation/Chemistry of Halogens at the Isles of Shoals 2004JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  112. 2007
    2007 Inorganic chlorine and bromine in coastal New England air during summerJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  112. 2007
    2007 Estimates of Cl atom concentrations and hydrocarbon kinetic reactivity in surface air at Appledore Island, Maine (USA), during International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation/Chemistry of Halogens at the Isles of ShoalsJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  112. 2007
    2007 Deviations from ozone photostationary state during the International Consortium for Atmospheric Research on Transport and Transformation 2004 campaign: Use of measurements and photochemical modeling to assess potential causesJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  112. 2007
    2007 Timescale dependence of environmental and plant-mediated controls on CH4 flux in a temperate fenJournal of Geophysical Research Biogeosciences.  112. 2007
    2005 Coastal water source of short-lived halocarbons in New EnglandJOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-ATMOSPHERES.  110:1-19. 2005
    2005 Development of a cryogen-free concentration system for measurements of volatile organic compounds.Analytical Chemistry.  77:6989-6998. 2005
    2005 Controls on the seasonal exchange of CH3Br in temperate peatlandsGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles: an international journal of global change.  19:n/a-n/a. 2005
    2005 Fine root dynamics and trace gas fluxes in two lowland tropical forest soilsGlobal Change Biology.  11:290-306. 2005
    2005 Soil-atmosphere exchange of nitrous oxide, nitric oxide, methane, and carbon dioxide in logged and undisturbed forest in the Tapajos National Forest, BrazilEarth Interactions.  9. 2005
    2003 Production of methyl bromide in a temperate forest soilGeophysical Research Letters.  30:28-21. 2003
    2003 Experimentally induced root mortality increased nitrous oxide emission from tropical forest soilsGeophysical Research Letters.  30:44-41. 2003
    2001 Consumption of tropospheric levels of methyl bromide by C(1) compound-utilizing bacteria and comparison to saturation kinetics.Applied and Environmental Microbiology.  67:5437-5443. 2001
    1999 Wetlands: a potentially significant source of atmospheric methyl bromide and methyl chlorideGeophysical Research Letters.  26:2433-2435. 1999
    1999 An estimate of the uptake of atmospheric methyl bromide by agricultural soilsGeophysical Research Letters.  26:727-730. 1999
    1998 Seasonal patterns and controls on net ecosystem CO2 exchange in a boreal peatland complexGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles: an international journal of global change.  12:703-714. 1998
    1998 Rapid Consumption of Low Concentrations of Methyl Bromide by Soil Bacteria.Applied and Environmental Microbiology.  64:1864-1870. 1998
    1996 Determination of atmospheric methyl bromide by cryotrapping-gas chromatography and application to soil kinetic studies using a dynamic dilution system.Analytical Chemistry.  68:899-903. 1996


    Year Title
    2019 Connecting Formal Science Classroom Learning to Community, Culture and Context in India.  143-162. 2019

    Conference Paper

    Year Title
    2013 Field Deployment of a Remote Multi-Path Methane SensorRenewable Energy and the Environment. 2013
    2011 Using an acoustic system to estimate the timing and magnitude of ebullition release from wetland ecosystemsAGU Fall Meeting Abstracts. 0642-0642. 2011
    2006 Nighttime oxidation of VOCs at a remote location during ICARTT 2004ACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts. 2006
    2006 A Mid-IR ICL-based sensor for field measurements of ambient CH4Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering. U135-U141. 2006

    Principal Investigator On

  • NRT: Convergent Arctic Research and Perspectives (CARPE)  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2021 - 2026
  • From Archea to the Atmosphere: Integrating Microbial, Isotopic and Landscape-Scale Observations to Quantify Methane Emissions from Global High-Latitude Ecosystems  awarded by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) 2017 - 2023
  • BII- Implementation: The EMERGE Institute, integrating research and training to characterize EMergent Ecosystem Response to ChanGE  awarded by Ohio State University 2020 - 2022
  • GP-Extra: Collaborative Links to Ocean Science and Earth Science Graduate Academic Programs  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2018 - 2022
  • Collaborative Research: Towards a Mechanistic Prediction of Methane Ebullition Fluxes from Northern Peatlands  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2016 - 2020
  • Illumilnating the Pathways to Carbon Liberation: A Systems Approach to Understanding Mechanisms Underlying Patterns of Carbon Transformation and Loss from Thawing Permafrost Peatlands  awarded by Ohio State University 2016 - 2020
  • Building Capacity for a Master's Program in NH  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2017 - 2018
  • Collaborative Research: Investigating Northern Peatland Methane Dynamics by Synthesizing Measurements, Remote Sensing and Modeling from Local to Regional to Continental Scales  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2013 - 2018
  • STEM Teachers Collaborative  awarded by New Hampshire Charitable Foundation 2016 - 2017
  • REU Site: The Influence of Climate Change on Biogeochemical Processes in Northern Ecosystems: An International Perspective in Earth System Science  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2011 - 2016
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Transition from Traditional to Organic Dairy Farming: An Education and Research Collaboration  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2010 - 2014
  • FERMENTS: Fen Experimental Research in Methane Ebullitive NeTwork Sensors  awarded by US DOI, US Geological Survey 2012 - 2013
  • Deployment of the CLaDS System at Sallie's Fen Experimental Station  awarded by Physical Sciences, Inc. 2013
  • FERMENT - Fen Experimental Research in Methane: Ebullitive NetWork Sensors  awarded by US DOI, US Geological Survey 2010 - 2013
  • Quantifying the Importance of Episodic Release of CH4 in Annual Wetland Methane Emissions  awarded by Pennsylvania State University 2010 - 2011
  • Ecosystems Studies in the Tapajos National Forest  awarded by US DA, United States Forest Service 2005 - 2010
  • Laser Based Sensor or Routine High Precision Field Measurements of Ambient CO2  awarded by Physical Sciences, Inc. 2008
  • High Frequency Measurments of CO2 Efflux From Forest Soil  awarded by Pennsylvania State University 2006 - 2007
  • High Frequency Measurements CO2 Efflux From Forest Soil  awarded by Harvard University 2004 - 2006
  • NIGEC Student Support  awarded by Harvard University 2005
  • Fungal Production of Methyl Halides  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2001 - 2003
  • Teaching Activities

  • Biogeosci Earth System Taught course 2023
  • Seminar in Earth Sciences Taught course 2022
  • Topics Taught course 2022
  • Biogeosci Earth System Taught course 2022
  • Seminar in Earth Sciences Taught course 2021
  • Adv Rsrch Exp/Earth Sciences Taught course 2021
  • Biogeosci Earth System Taught course 2021
  • Adv Rsrch Exp/Earth Sciences Taught course 2019
  • Biogeosci Earth System Taught course 2019
  • Techniques Environmental Sci Taught course 2018
  • Techniques Environmental Sci Taught course 2017
  • Adv Rsrch Exp/Earth Sciences Taught course 2017
  • Aqueous Geochemistry Taught course 2016
  • Techniques Environmental Sci Taught course 2016
  • Techniques Environmental Sci Taught course 2014
  • Rsrch Exp/Earth Sciences Taught course 2014
  • Education And Training

  • B.A. Geology/Earth Science, Hartwick College
  • M.S. Hydrology&Water Resources Sci., University of New Hampshire
  • Ph.D. Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire
  • Ph.D. Geochemistry, University of New Hampshire
  • Full Name

  • Ruth Varner