Nitrogen, contained in amino acids, proteins, and DNA, is necessary for life. While there is an abundance of nitrogen in nature, almost all is in an unreactive form (gaseous nitrogen, N2) that is not usable by most organisms. In the absence of human intervention, the supply of reactive nitrogen in the environment is not sufficient to sustain the current abundance of human life. Thus humans learned in the early 20th century how to convert gaseous N2 into forms that could sustain food production. Over 40% of the world’s population is here today because of that capability.
The least known part of the nitrogen cycle is the reduced nitrogen form. Reduced nitrogen, such as ammonia, ammonium and amines are essential in food production, in ecology and also in the environment. Emissions of ammonia to the atmosphere can contribute to particulate matter formation affecting human health, contributing to eutrophication and acidification of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems after deposition and to nitrous oxide formation, contributing to the greenhouse effect. The scientific basis for reduced nitrogen in ecology and the environment needs to be strengthened. This conference is the first major step to develop this basis.
The conference aims to bring together scientists with diverse backgrounds to foster cross-fertilisation and the generation of new ideas.
R. Bobbink (Utrecht U., NL); S. Castaldi (Napoli U., IT; D. Fowler (CEH, Edinburgh, UK); P. Grennfelt (IVL Svenska Miljöinstitutet, SE); P. Liss (East Anglia U., UK); D. Möller (TU Cottbus, DE); O. Oenema (Wageningen U., NL); B. Pyatt (Nottingham Trent U., UK); J. Raven (Dundee U., UK); H. Rennenberg (Freiburg U., DE); N. Risgaard-Petersen (NERI., DK); J. Roelofs (Radboud U., Nijmegen, NL); J.K. Schjoerring (KVL, Copenhagen, DK); M. Sutton (Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Edinburgh, UK)
Topics will include: Reduced nitrogen in the earlier atmosphere and its relation to creating life on earth; Processes creating reduced nitrogen in the biosphere (plants, soil, biological fixation,); Reduced nitrogen cycling in vegetation, aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems; The role of reduced nitrogen in the sea/ocean; Reduced nitrogen and animals; Humans and reduced nitrogen; Atmospheric chemistry; Environmental effects of reduced nitrogen; Atmosphere - biosphere exchange; The role of reduced nitrogen in the nitrogen cycle; The interaction with other biogeochemical cycles (S, C, H, O, P).
European Science Foundation (ESF); Fonds zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung in Österreich (FWF); Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck (LFUI)