The McNeal Biogeochemistry and Geoscience Education Research Group (BGERG) and Laboratory conducts research in the fields of biogeochemistry and geoscience education/geocognition.

Biogeochemistry and Geoscience Education

Biogeochemistry involves the scientific study of chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment (including the biosphere, the hydrosphere, the geosphere, and the lithosphere) and the cycles of matter and energy that transport the Earth's chemical components in time and space.  Biogeochemical research in the BGERG lab focuses on soil and sediment biogeochemistry where a variety of analytical tools and microbial methods are used to understand the interactions between microorganisms and the O, C, N, S, and Fe cycles.

Geoscience education/geocognition involves the study of the human understanding of complex and dynamic Earth systems. It includes understanding how people learn, think, and process information related to interpreting and understanding the Earth.  It involves the creation of pedagogical activities that provide students the opportunity to learn about Earth processes and systems as well as the training of our teachers, graduate students, and educators in Earth science.  A critical portion of this work includes evaluation and assessment of these efforts and the validation and reliability analysis of the measurement instruments utilized during the research. The Geoscience education research in the BGERG focuses on a variety of these aspects and employs both qualitative and quantitative measures of assessment.