Dawson Fairbanks

Biosphere 2 Fellow
Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science

Dawson Fairbanks is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science. She is interested in microbiology, biogeochemistry, and global change. Her research examines microbial biogeochemistry in the context of water and soil processes, including decomposition, weathering, carbon stabilization, carbon flow, and water purification. Her work examines changes in microbial community function in response to landscape disturbance. She is interested in how microbial composition changes with respect to landscape position, depth, aspect, and elevation and how pulsed events such as fire and precipitation alters successional trajectories of soil biota. She is conducting her research with UA’s Critical Zone Observatory in northern New Mexico, an interdisciplinary group focused on understanding critical zone processes, the layer of the earth's crust that extends from bedrock to the tops of trees. A second aspect of her project will look at deep microbial communities, extending hundreds of meters in the subsurface, to help understand the coupling of deep critical zone processes to surface processes.

Accepted Scholar:



Thomas R. Brown Family Foundation

College of Engineering 

College of Science Galileo Circle

Graduate College

Arizona Institute for Resilience

Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment & Social Justice

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences