Mycorrhizal impacts on soil carbon dynamics 2017-04-20T15:23:11+00:00

Mycorrhizal impacts on soil carbon dynamics

Soil properties and biological communities contribute to carbon loss and gain, which vary significantly by ecosystem, but current carbon cycling models fail to incorporate interactions among these groups. With funding from the US Department of Energy (DOE), we are experimentally manipulating and modeling how mycorrhizal fungi and roots alter carbon dynamics in temperate, tropical, and boreal forests. To date, we find that the influence of fungi on carbon dynamics varies by the nutrient constraints of that ecosystem. For example, in temperate forests mycorrhizal fungi compete with the free-living community to reduce carbon degradation – a pattern not seen in a boreal forest. We recently established a site in Costa Rica to explore the impact of fungi and roots on tropical forest carbon cycling.


  • PIs: Aimee Classen, Melanie Mayes, Dan Metcalfe
  • Post Docs: Jiang Jiang
  • Gradaute Students: Jessica Moore, Jeremiah Henning
  • Technicians: Courtney Patterson
  • Collaborators: Gangsheng Wang

Project Publications

  • Jiang J, Moore JAM, Priyadarshi A, Classen AT (2017) Plant-mycorrhizal interactions mediate plant community coexistence by altering resource demand. Ecology 98:187-197.
  • Crowther TW, Todd-Brown KEO, Rowe CW, Wieder WR, Carey JC, Machmuller MB, Snoek LB, Fang S, Zhou G, Allison SD, Blainr JM, Bridgeham SD, Burton AJ, Carrillo Y, Reich PB, Clark JS, Classen AT, Dijkstra FA, Elberling B, Emmett B, Estiarte M, Frey SD, Guo J, Harte J, Jiang L, Johnson BR, Kröel-Dulay G, Larsen KS, Laudon H, Lavallee JM, Luo Y, Lupascu M, Ma LN, Marhan S, Michelsen A, Mohan J, Niu S, Pendell E, Peñuelas J, Pfeifer-Meister L, Poll C, Reinsch S, Reynolds LL, Schmidt IK, Sistla S, Sokol NW, Templer PH, Treseder KK, Welker JM, Bradford MA (2016) Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming. Nature 540:104-108
  • Classen AT, Sundqvist M, Henning JA, Newman GS, Moore JAM, Cregger M, Moorhead LC**, Patterson CM (2015) ESA Centennial Paper: Direct and indirect effects of climate change on soil microbial and soil microbial-plant interactions: What lies ahead? Ecosphere 6(8):1-21.
  • Moore JAM, Jiang J, Patterson CM, Mayes MA, Wang G, Classen AT (2015) Interactions among roots, mycorrhizas and free-living microbial communities differentially impact soil carbon processes. Journal of Ecology 103:1442-1453.
  • Moore JAM, Jiang J, Post WM, Classen AT (2015) Decomposition by ectomycorrhizal fungi alters soil carbon storage in a simulation model. Ecosphere 6(3):29.


This work is funded by the US Department of Energy.