Owen Duckworth, associate professor of soil science, has received a five-year, $400,000 award from the National Science Foundation to study the structure, reactivity and biological diversity of iron oxide deposits present in rivers, lakes and springs.
Duckworth received the NSF Faculty Early Career Award for his project, “Assessing the Reactivity and Diversity of Neutrophilic Iron-Oxidizing Bacteria in Terrestrial Aquatic Environments.”
Recent studies have shown that these iron oxide deposits often result from the action of specific iron-oxidizing bacteria. Until recently, it was assumed that these deposits were formed by abiotic factors, or non-living chemical and physical factors in the environment.
Learning more about these iron oxide deposits may shed light on the behavior of iron in aquatic environments.
The Career Award is one of the highest given by NSF to young faculty in science and engineering.
A specialist in soil biogeochemistry, Duckworth began working at NC State in 2007. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard, his master’s from UNC-Chapel Hill, and his bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.