Melany C. Fisk

Associate Professor

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

  1. Fisk, M.C., T.J. Ratliff, S. Goswami, R.D. Yanai. 2013.  Synergistic soil response to nitrogen plus phosphorus fertilization in hardwood forests.  Biogeochemistry, in press.
  2. Dempsey, M.A., M.C. Fisk, T.J. Fahey, J.B. Yavitt, and T.C. Balser.  2013.  Exotic earthworms alter soil microbial community composition and function.  Soil Biology and Biochemistry 67: 263 - 270.
  3. Groffman, P.M, and M.C. Fisk.  2011.  Calcium constrains plant control over forest ecosystem nitrogen cycling.  Ecology 92: 2035-2042.
  4. Fisk, M. C., J. H. Sobieraj, T. J. Fahey, A. M. Costello, and T.O. Crist.  2011.  Rhizosphere disturbance influences fungal colonization and community development on dead fine roots.  Plant and Soil 341: 279-293.
  5. Naples, B.K., and M.C. Fisk.  2010.  Belowground insights into nutrient limitation in northern hardwood forests.  Biogeochemistry 97:109–121.