As Research Leader, I provide leadership for the Unit and coordinate the Unit's research programs. The mission of the NSDL is to develop technologies and strategies for managing soils that increase adoption of sustainable production/cropping systems, particularly conservation systems reducing economic risks and farm production costs; improve soil quality and productivity; increase available water to plants and reduce risks from short-term droughts; and relate agriculture to global environmental change. NSDL contributes to the Agency's global change initiative, which includes both agro-ecosystems and natural ecosystems such as forests and rangelands. My assignment is to reduce uncertainty regarding: (1) the effects of rising atmospheric CO 2 concentration on crop production and food security, and (2) the role of agronomic ecosystems in the sequestration of atmospheric CO 2 by soil. Specifically, my assignment encompasses the determination of the effects of atmospheric CO 2 level on belowground processes which control crop productivity and carbon/nutrient cycling, including structure and function of root systems, soil microorganisms, soil carbon dynamics, and CO 2 -induced soil responses. Both edaphic and micrometeorological aspects of the entire crop system are being studied. I plan and conduct in-depth research to develop new knowledge relevant to this area of science.