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Dr Heather Buss


I am an Associate Professor (Reader) in Biogeochemical Weathering. I joined the University of Bristol School of Earth Sciences in 2011 so I could work with undergraduate and postgraduate students, as a teacher, research collaborator, and as a mentor.  In my research, I seek to understand the fate of mineral nutrients as rocks undergo chemical, biological and physical weathering and transform into soil. I am especially interested in the feedbacks between geochemical reactions and biological processes (microbial activities and plant uptake).

I use my research activity and interests to inform my teaching, which includes the following units: Soils and the Critical Zone, Geomicrobiology, Environmental Geoscience Field Skills (in Tenerife, Spain), and undgraduate/postgraduate research projects. I hold several other roles in the School of Earth Sciences, including Director of the Marine and Terrestrial Environments (MATES) research group, Head of the Biogeochemistry Laboratory, Chair of the Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), Teaching Quality Officer, and Staff Advisor to the Bristol University Geology and Geoscience Society (BUGGS).

In my previous position, I was a Research Geochemist with the US Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California. In that position, I was the lead USGS scientist for a tropical Critical Zone Observatory in Puerto Rico. Prior to that, I completed a US National Research Council postdoctoral fellowship at the USGS after completing my PhD in Geosciences in 2006 at Penn State University with Professor Susan Brantley.