Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science

Radiocarbon Collaborative

Pounding station

Radiocarbon (14C) is a unique and naturally occurring environmental tracer that allows researchers to track the flow of C among ecosystem components and estimate the mean residence time of C in these pools. Radiocarbon has applications in nearly all fields of environmental science, and allows unique insight into climate change effects on the terrestrial C cycle.

Our organization is dedicated to advancing climate change and carbon cycle science by making radiocarbon analysis accessible to earth system scientists. The Radiocarbon collaborative is jointly supported by the USDA Forest Service, the Keck Carbon Cycle AMS Facility at University of California, Irvine and Michigan Technological University. We make radiocarbon analysis accessible to earth system scientists, and assist in data interpretation and manuscript preparation. Data produced by the Radiocarbon Collaborative is made publically available  through the International Soil Carbon Network, with an online database dedicated to fostering greater collaboration among researchers.


  • The Radiocarbon Collaborative has provided analysis of over 2,000 environmental samples from more than 40 completed or on-going research projects.
  • The Radiocarbon Collaborative has assisted and/or collaborated with 30 governmental and university partners.
  • Radiocarbon data produced through the Radiocarbon Collaborative has supported numerous peer-reviewed publications, theses and dissertations as well as providing guidance for ecosystem managers.


Hribljan, John A.; Suárez, Esteban; Heckman, Katherine A.; Lilleskov, Erik, A.; Chimner, Rodney A. 2016. Peatland carbon stocks and accumulation rates in the Ecuadorian páramo. Wetlands and Ecological Management. 24(2): 113:127.

Hribljan, J.A.; Cooper, D.J.; Sueltenfuss, J.; Wolf, E.C.; Heckman, K.A.; Lilleskov, E.A.; Chimner, R.A. 2015. Carbon storage and long-term rate of accumulation in high-altitude Andean peatlands of Bolivia. Mires and Peat. 15: article 12. 14 p.

Kinney, Kealohanuiopuna M.; Asner, Gregory P.; Cordell, Susan; Chadwick, Oliver A.; Heckman, Katherine; Hotchkiss, Sara; Jeraj, Marjeta; Kennedy-Bowdoin, Ty; Knapp, David E. 2015. Primary succession on a Hawaiian dryland chronosequence. PLoS ONE 10(6): e0123995.

O’Donnell, JA; Aiken, GR; Walvoord, MA;, Butler, KD; Dornblaser, MM; Heckman, K. 2014. Using DOM age and composition to detect permafrost thaw in boreal streams of interior Alaska. Journal of Geographic Research-Biogeosciences, 199. DOI: 10.1002/2014JG002695

Marin-Spiota, E; Chaopricha, NT; Plante, AF; Diefendorf, AF; Mueller, CW; Grandy, AS; Mason, JA. 2014. Long-term stabilization of deep soil carbon by fire and burial during early Holocene climate change. Nature Geoscience. DOI: 10.1038/NGE02169

Heckman, K; Throckmorton, H; Clingensmith, C; González Vila, FJ; Horwath, WR; Knicker, H; Rasmussen, C. 2014. Factors affecting the molecular structure and mean residence time of occluded organics in a lithosequence of soils under ponderosa pine. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. DOI: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2014.05.028

Millar, C.I.; Heckman, K.; Swanston, C.; Schmidt, K.; Westfall, R.D.; Delany, D.L. 2014. Radiocarbon dating of American pika fecal pellets provides insights into population extirpations and climate refugia. Ecological Applications. 24(7): 1748–1768.

Giardina, C. P.; Litton, C. M.; Crow, S. E.; Asner, G. P. 2014. Warming-related increases in soil CO2 efflux are explained by increased below-ground carbon flux. Nature Climate Change, 4(9), 822-827.

Heckman, Katherine; Campbell, John L.; Powers, Heath; Law, Beverly E.; Swanston, Chris. 2013. The influence of fire on the radiocarbon signature and character of soil organic matter in the Siskiyou National Forest, Oregon, USA. Fire Ecology. 9(2): 40-56.

Stewart, JAE; Wright, DH. 2012. Assessing persistence of the American pika at historic localities in California's Northern Sierra Nevada. Wildlife Society Bulletin, 36(4): 759–764.