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Human activities are altering global carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycles at an unprecedented rate.  It is unclear how significant changes in global elemental cycles will affect ecosystem functions, such as primary productivity or C storage over the long-term.  My research aims to understand how plant-microbe interactions mediate ecosystem-specific responses to global climate change.  This research connects microbial processes to ecosystem functions to yield new insights into microbial ecology and elemental cycling.  Research in my laboratory focuses on three main question

Disentangling plant and soil microbial controls on carbon and nitrogen loss in grassland mesocosms


It is well known that plant–soil interactions play an important role in determining the impact of global change phenomena on biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Little is known, however, about the individual and relative importance for carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) cycling of non-random changes in plant and soil communities that result from global change phenomena, such as fertilization and agricultural intensification.

Smith et al. 2014 Microbial community structure varies across soil aggregate pools in tropics. SBB 77:292-303

Smith, A.P., Marin-Sipotta, E., de Graff, M.A., Balser, T.C. 2014. Microbial community structure varies across soil organic matter aggregate pools during tropical land cover change. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 77:292-303


• Soil microsite heterogeneity is important in shaping microbial communities.

• Decreasing fungal to bacterial ratios abundance with aggregate size reflects differences in SOM composition.

• Greater Gm+:Gm− and lower C:N suggest more processed C in the finest soil fractions.

Guillaume Bay

I am a microbial ecologist in Kirsten Hofmockel’s lab with broad interests in ecosystem processes, microbial communities, plant-microbe symbiotic relationships, and nutrient cycling.
More specifically, my research focuses on the long-term consequences of organic amendments and crop-system diversification on soil microbial community composition, as well as the metabolically active populations involved in carbon and nitrogen transformations.

L.H. Bach et al. 2008, 2009 spatial distribution of microbes in spruce forests

Bach et al. 2008. Variation in soil microbial communities across a boreal spruce forest landscape. Canadian Journal of Forest Research:

Bach et al. 2009. Site identity and moss species as determinants of soil microbial community structure. . . Plant & Soil:

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