Dr. Zhao is an Earth Scientist with the Biogeochemical Transformations team. Zhao focuses on carbon stability and the interactions between soil organic matter, microbes, and minerals from molecular to continental-scale ecosystems. With capabilities in different state-of-the-art analytical techniques, including X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, pyrolysis-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, Mössbauer spectroscopy, and synchrotron-based X-ray absorption spectroscopy, he is pursuing a systematic understanding of soil organic matter decomposition mechanisms at the interface between plants, microorganisms, and minerals with environmental implications on global carbon-nitrogen cycling.
- Environmental geochemistry
- Carbon stability in ecosystem
- Organic matter, microorganisms, and minerals interactions
- Microbial ecology
- Redox cycling of carbon and Fe minerals
- PhD in Environmental Engineering, University of Nevada, 2017
- MS in Environmental Engineering, Oklahoma State University, 2012
- BS in Environmental Engineering, Shenyang Architecture University, 2009
Awards and Recognition
- Student Travel Award, 254th National Meeting, American Chemical Society (2017)
- Student Travel Fellowship, Principal Investigator's Meeting, U.S. Department of Energy (2016)
- Student Travel Award, Graduate Student Association, University of Nevada Reno, (2015)
- Annual Scholarship, Eastern Sierra Chapter, Air & Waste Management Association (2015)
- Differential Fee Fellowship, College of Engineering, University of Nevada Reno (2014)
Dunham-Cheatham, S. M., Q. Zhao, D. Obrist, and Y. Yang. 2020. “Unexpected Mechanism for Glucose-Primed Soil Organic Carbon Mineralization under an Anaerobic–Aerobic Transition.” Geoderma 376. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114535.
Huang, X., Q. Zhao, R. P. Young, X. Zhang, E. D. Walter, Y. Chen, E. Nakouzi, S. D. Taylor, J. S. Loring, Z. Wang, K. S. Hofmockel, and K. M. Rosso. 2020. “Photo-Production of Reactive Oxygen Species and Degradation of Dissolved Organic Matter by Hematite Nanoplates Functionalized by Adsorbed Oxalate.” Environmental Science: Nano 7 (8): 2278-2292. https://doi.org/10.1039/d0en00365d.
Zhao, Q., S. J. Callister, A. M. Thompson, R. K. Kukkadapu, M. M. Tfaily, L. M. Bramer, N. P. Qafoku, S. L. Bell, S. E. Hobbie, E. W. Seabloom, E. T. Borer, and K. S. Hofmockel. 2020. “Strong Mineralogic Control of Soil Organic Matter Composition in Response to Nutrient Addition across Diverse Grassland Sites.” Science of the Total Environment 736. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.137839.
Zhao, Q., S. Dunham-Cheatham, D. Adhikari, C. Chen, A. Patel, S. R. Poulson, D. Obrist, P. S. J. Verburg, X. Wang, E. R. Roden, A. Thompson, and Y. Yang. 2020. “Oxidation of Soil Organic Carbon During an Anoxic-Oxic Transition.” Geoderma 377. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoderma.2020.114584.
Wordofa, D. N., D. Adhikari, S. M. Dunham-Cheatham, Q. Zhao, S. R. Poulson, Y. Tang, and Y. Yang. 2019. “Biogeochemical Fate of Ferrihydrite-Model Organic Compound Complexes During Anaerobic Microbial Reduction.” Science of the Total Environment 668: 216-223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.441.
Zhao, Q., D. Adhikari, R. Huang, A. Patel, X. Wang, Y. Tang, D. Obrist, E. E. Roden, and Y. Yang. 2017. “Coupled Dynamics of Iron and Iron-Bound Organic Carbon in Forest Soils During Anaerobic Reduction.” Chemical Geology 464: 118-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chemgeo.2016.12.014.
Adhikari, D., Q. Zhao, K. Das, J. Mejia, R. Huang, X. Wang, S. R. Poulson, Y. Tang, E. E. Roden, and Y. Yang. 2017. Dynamics of Ferrihydrite-Bound Organic Carbon During Microbial Fe Reduction, Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta 212: 221-233. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2017.06.017.
Zhao, Q., S. R. Poulson, D. Obrist, S. Sumaila, J. J. Dynes, J. M. McBeth, and Y. Yang. 2016. “Iron-Bound Organic Carbon in Forest Soils: Quantification and Characterization.” Biogeosciences 13 (16): 4777-4788. https://doi.org/10.5194/bg-13-4777-2016.