Melany C. Fisk


160 Pearson Hall  (513) 529-3181

Biographical Information

I am interested in soil biota and their function in terrestrial ecosystem nutrient cycles. The soil component of ecosystems is amazingly diverse and structurally complex.  Soil organisms include plant roots, mycorrhizal and saprophytic fungi, bacteria, and a multitude of soil fauna.  Together, these form the detrital food web and are responsible for the decomposition of organic matter and the recycling of nutrients.  Research in my laboratory investigates the interactions among plants and various types of soil organisms, with a general goal to learn about the biotic complexities that underlie responses of forest ecosystems to environmental change.

One aspect of our work examines the impacts of exotic earthworms on northeastern forest ecosystems.  These large decomposer organisms completely alter the soil environment, and our studies test the consequences for other organisms in the detrital foodweb and for carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus biogeochemistry.  Another aspect of our work explores plant and microbial responses to interactions among multiple nutrient elements (nitrogen, phosphorus, and calcium), to better understand potential consequences of calcium depletion and nitrogen enrichment in forest ecosystems.

Fisk Lab Website

Courses Taught

  1. Bio 209, Fundamentals of Ecology
  2. Bio 438/538, Soil Ecology and Sustainable Use
  3. Bio 672, Global and Ecosystem Ecology

Recent Publications

Minick KJ, Fisk MC, Groffman PM. 2017. Soil calcium alters processes contributing to C and N retention in the Oa/A horizon of a northern hardwood forest. Biogeochemistry 132:343-357.

Locey KJ, Fisk MC, Lennon JT. 2016. Micro-scale insight into microbial seed banks. Frontiers in Microbiology 7:2040. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.02040.

Ratliff TJ, Fisk MC. 2016. Phosphatase activity is related to N availability but not P availability across hardwood forests in the northeastern United States. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 94:61-69.

Fisk MC, Santangelo S, Minick KJ. 2015. Carbon mineralization is promoted by phosphorus and reduced by nitrogen addition in the organic horizon of northern hardwood forests. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 81: 212-218.

See CR, Yanai RD, Fisk MC, Vadeboncoeur MA, Quintero BA, Fahey TJ. 2015. Soil nitrogen affects phosphorus recycling: foliar resorption and plant-soil feedbacks in a northern hardwood forest. Ecology 96: 2488-2498.

Fisk MC, Ratliff TJ, Goswami S, Yanai RD. 2014. Synergistic soil response to nitrogen plus phosphorus fertilization in hardwood forests. Biogeochemistry 118:195-204.

Dempsey MA, Fisk MC, Fahey TJ, Yavitt JB, and Balser TC. 2013. Exotic earthworms alter soil microbial community composition and function. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 67:263-270.

Groffman, PM, Rustadt LE, Templer PH, Campbell JL, Christenson LM, Lany NK, Socci AM, Vadeboncouer MA, Schaberg PG, Wilson GF, Driscoll CT, Fahey TJ, Fisk MC, Goodale CL, Green MB, Hamburg SP, Johnson CE, Mitchell MJ, Morse JL, Pardo LH, Rodenhouse NL. 2012. Long-term integrated studies show that climate change effects are manifest in complex and surprising ways in the northern hardwood forest. BioScience 62: 1056-1066.