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Mary K Firestone

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Name  Mary Firestone

Mary K. Firestone httpsourenvironmentberkeleyeduwpcontentupl

Mary K. Firestone is a professor of soil microbiology in the Department of Environmental Studies, Policy, and Management at the University of California, Berkeley. She is also the Associate Dean of Instruction & Student Affairs at Berkeley... Mary received her M.Sc. in microbiology in 1977 and her Ph.D. in soil microbiology at Michigan State University in 1979.


Mary K. Firestone httpsourenvironmentberkeleyedusitesourenvir

Mary became a Fellow of the Soil Science Society of America in 1995. Since then, she has received numerous honours and awards throughout her career, including the Emil Truog Soil Science Award, and most recently, the Berkeley College of Natural Resources Career Achievement Award in 2013, In addition to these awards, she was named Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology in 2002,.

Mary Firestone has published over 85 peer-reviewed articles which have been cited almost 4,000 times. In addition, she has authored, co-authored and contributed to numerous book chapters, including “Root Interactions with Soil Microbial Communities and Processes” in The Rhizosphere: An Ecological Perspective (Z.G. Cardon and J.L. Whitbeck, Academic Press, 2007) and “Mechanisms Determining Patterns of Nutrient Dynamics” (with Valerie T. Eviner) in California Grasslands: Ecology and Management (M.R. Stromberg, J.D. Corbin, and C. M. D’Antonion).

Research focus

Her lab’s interests include studying how carbon and nitrogen are processed in ecosystems. In particular, her lab is interested in understanding carbon and nitrogen interactions between roots and soil microbes. She is also interested in understanding how the structure of soil microbial communities controls nitrogen and carbon transformations such as nitrification, denitrification, and mineralization

She is also interested in understanding the biophysical properties and mechanisms of bacteria and plant interactions in soil environments and examining how the physical characteristics of soil matrices affect the growth and activity of soil microbes

Her work has broad ranging applications, most notably to questions concerning the role of soil microbes in mediating terrestrial ecosystem response to global change.

Selected publications

Blazewicz, S.J., E. Schwartz, M.K. Firestone. 2014. Growth and death of bacteria and fungi underlie rainfall-induced carbon dioxide pulses from seasonally dried soil. Ecology (in Press).

Nuccio, Erin E., Angela Hodge, Jennifer Pett-Ridge, Donald J. Herman, Peter K. Weber, and Mary K. Firestone. 2013. An arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus significantly modifies the soil bacterial community and nitrogen cycling during litter decomposition. Environmental Microbiol. 15:1870-1881.

Placella, Sarah and Mary Firestone. 2013. Transcriptional Response of Nitrifying Communities to Wetting of Dry Soil. Applied Environ Microbiology. 79:10 3294-3302.

Pett-Ridge, Jennifer, Dorthe Petersen, Erin Nuccio, Mary Firestone. 2013. Influence of oxic/anoxic fluctuations on ammonia oxidizers and nitrification potential in a wet tropical soil. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 85:179-194.

Blazewicz, S.J., R.L. Barnard, R.A. Daly, M.K. Firestone. 2013. Evaluating rRNA as an indicator of microbial activity in environmental communities: limitations and uses. ISME J. 7:2061-2068.

Barnard, R.L., C.A. Osborne, M.K. Firestone. 2013. Responses of soil bacterial and fungal communities to extreme desiccation and rewetting. ISME J. 7: 2229-2241.

Shi, Shengjing, Alan E. Richardson, Maureen O’Callaghan, Mary Firestone, and Leo Condron. 2013. Challenges in assessing links between root exudates and the structure and function of soil microbial community. In Molecular Microbial Ecology of the Rhizosphere. Frans J. de Bruijn ed.

Doll, M Hannah, Armitage, W David, Daly, A Rebecca, Emerson, B Joanne, Goltsman,Aliaga Daniela S, Yelton, P Alexis, Kerekes, Jennifer, Firestone, K Mary, Potts, D Matthew. 2013. Utilizing novel diversity estimators to quantify multiple dimensions of microbial biodiversity across domains. BMC Microbiology. DOI: 10.1186/10.1186/1471-2180-13-259.

Herman, D., M, Firestone, E. Nuccio, A. Hodge. 2012. Interactions between an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus and a soil microbial community mediating litter decomposition. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. FEMS Microbiology Ecology. 80:236-247.

DeAngelis, K. and M. Firestone. 2012. Phylogenetic clustering of soil microbial communities in 16S rRNA but not 16S rRNA genes. Applied and Environmental Microbiol. 78(7): 2459.

Blazewicz, S.J., D.G. Petersen, M.P. Waldrop, and M.K. Firestone. 2012. Anaerobic Oxidation of Methane in Tropical and Boreal Soils: Ecological Significance in Terrestrial Methane Cycling. J. Geophysical Res. Biogeosciences. 117 G02033: doi:10.1029/2011JG00186

Placella, S.A., E.L, Brodie, and M.K. Firestone. 2012. Rainfall induced carbon dioxide pulses result from sequential resuscitation of phylogenetically clustered microbial groups. PNAS. 109:10931-10936.

Throckmorton, H.M., J.A. Bird, L. Dane, M.K. Firestone, and W.R. Horwath. 2012. The source of microbial C has little impact on soil organic matter stabilization in forest ecosystems. Ecology Lett. Doi:10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01848x

Peterson, D. G., S. Blazewicz, D. J. Herman, M. Firestone, M. Turetsky, and M. Waldrop. 2012. Abundance of microbial genes associated with nitrogen cycling as indices of biogeochemical process rates across a vegetation gradient in Alaska. Environmental Microbiology 14: 993–1008

Bird, J.A., D.J. Herman and M.K. Firestone. 2011. Rhizosphere priming of soil organic matter by bacterial groups in a grassland soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43:718-725.


Mary K. Firestone Wikipedia