• The research in my lab focuses on how human activities are impacting terrestrial ecosystems, with an emphasis on soil biota and nutrient cycling processes. We are specifically interested in how anthropogenic stressors (e.g., climate change, nitrogen deposition, agricultural management, invasive species) affect the composition and diversity of soil microbial communities and microbial-mediated carbon and nitrogen cycles. We work at the interface between ecosystem science, microbial ecology and soil science, combining microbiological methods with stable isotope analysis and a variety of soil physical and chemical approaches to examine structure-function linkages.
  • Selected Publications

    Academic Article

    Year Title
    2016 Microbial carbon use efficiency: accounting for population, community, and ecosystem-scale controls over the fate of metabolized organic matterBiogeochemistry: an international journal.  127:173-188. 2016
    2016 Terrestrial and marine perspectives on modeling organic matter degradation pathways.Global Change Biology.  22:121-136. 2016
    2015 Microbial physiology and necromass regulate agricultural soil carbon accumulationSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  91:279-290. 2015
    2015 Changes in litter quality caused by simulated nitrogen deposition reinforce the N-induced suppression of litter decayEcosphere.  6:1-16. 2015
    2015 Reply to Veresoglou: Overdependence on "significance" testing in biology.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA.  112:E5114. 2015
    2015 Illuminating next steps for NEON.Science.  349:1176-1177. 2015
    2015 Soil microbial communities vary as much over time as with chronic warming and nitrogen additionsSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  88:19-24. 2015
    2015 Revisiting the hypothesis that fungal-to-bacterial dominance characterizes turnover of soil organic matter and nutrientsEcological Monographs.  85:457-472. 2015
    2015 Biotic interactions mediate soil microbial feedbacks to climate change.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of USA.  112:7033-7038. 2015
    2015 Global environmental change and the nature of aboveground net primary productivity responses: insights from long-term experiments.Oecologia.  177:935-947. 2015
    2015 Soil warming and nitrogen deposition alter soil organic matter composition at the molecular-levelBiogeochemistry: an international journal.  123:391-409. 2015
    2015 Long-term forest soil warming alters microbial communities in temperate forest soils.Frontiers in Microbiology.  6:104. 2015
    2014 Chronic nitrogen additions suppress decomposition and sequester soil carbon in temperate forestsBiogeochemistry: an international journal.  121:305-316. 2014
    2014 The effect of nitrogen addition on soil organic matter dynamics: a model analysis of the Harvard Forest Chronic Nitrogen Amendment Study and soil carbon response to anthropogenic N depositionBiogeochemistry: an international journal.  117:431-454. 2014
    2013 Soil respiration in a northeastern US temperate forest: a 22-year synthesisEcosphere.  4:1-28. 2013
    2013 Long-term changes in forest carbon under temperature and nitrogen amendments in a temperate northern hardwood forest.Global Change Biology.  19:2389-2400. 2013
    2013 Bacterial growth and growth-limiting nutrients following chronic nitrogen additions to a hardwood forest soilSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  59:32-37. 2013
    2013 Plant community structure mediates potential methane production and potential iron reduction in wetland mesocosmsEcosphere.  4:1-17. 2013
    2013 The temperature response of soil microbial efficiency and its feedback to climateNature Climate Change.  3:395-398. 2013
    2013 Soil respiration does not acclimatize to warmer temperatures when modeled over seasonal timescalesBiogeochemistry: an international journal.  112:555-570. 2013
    2012 Temperature adaptation of bacterial communities in experimentally warmed forest soils.Global Change Biology.  18:3252-3258. 2012
    2012 The effect of experimental warming and precipitation change on proteolytic enzyme activity: positive feedbacks to nitrogen availability are not universalGlobal Change Biology.  18:2617-2625. 2012
    2012 Examining N-limited soil microbial activity using community-level physiological profiling based on O-2 consumptionSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  47:46-52. 2012
    2012 Overyielding and the role of complementary use of nitrogen in wetland plant communitiesAquatic Botany.  97:1-9. 2012
    2012 Predicting decadal trends and transient responses of radiocarbon storage and fluxes in a temperate forest soilBiogeosciences.  9:3013-3028. 2012
    2011 Temperature and soil organic matter decomposition rates - synthesis of current knowledge and a way forwardGlobal Change Biology.  17:3392-3404. 2011
    2011 Plant Community Composition More Predictive than Diversity of Carbon Cycling in Freshwater WetlandsWetlands: the journal of the Society of Wetland Scientists.  31:965-977. 2011
    2011 No-net-loss not met for nutrient function in freshwater marshes: recommendations for wetland mitigation policiesEcosphere.  2:art82-art82. 2011
    2011 Multivariate approach to characterizing soil microbial communities in pristine and agricultural sites in Northwest ArgentinaApplied Soil Ecology.  47:176-183. 2011
    2011 Seasonal dynamics of soil respiration and N mineralization in chronically warmed and fertilized soilsEcosphere.  2:art36-art36. 2011
    2011 Responses and feedbacks of coupled biogeochemical cycles to climate change: examples from terrestrial ecosystemsFrontiers in Ecology and the Environment.  9:61-67. 2011
    2009 Decreased mass specific respiration under experimental warming is robust to the microbial biomass method employedEcology Letters.  12:E15-E18. 2009
    2008 First Results from the THEMIS MissionSpace Science Reviews.  141:453-476. 2008
    2008 Optimization of an oxygen-based approach for community-level physiological profiling of soilsSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  40:2960-2969. 2008
    2008 Thermal adaptation of soil microbial respiration to elevated temperature.Ecology Letters.  11:1316-1327. 2008
    2008 Adjustment of forest ecosystem root respiration as temperature warms.Journal of Integrative Plant Biology.  50:1467-1483. 2008
    2008 Microbial biomass, functional capacity, and community structure after 12 years of soil warmingSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  40:2904-2907. 2008
    2008 Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity at global scale.Ecology Letters.  11:1252-1264. 2008
    2008 Residue carbon stabilization in soil aggregates of no-till and tillage management of dryland cropping systemsSoil Science Society of America Journal.  72:507-513. 2008
    2007 Effects of macrophyte functional group richness on emergent freshwater wetland functions.Ecology.  88:2903-2914. 2007
    2006 The role of spatial and temporal scale in colonization and spread of invasive shrubs in early successional habitatsForest Ecology and Management.  228:124-134. 2006
    2006 Do growth yield efficiencies differ between soil microbial communities differing in fungal: bacterial ratios? Reality check and methodological issuesSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  38:837-844. 2006
    2006 Bacterial and fungal contributions to carbon sequestration in agroecosystemsSoil Science Society of America Journal.  70:555-569. 2006
    2005 Nitrogen additions and litter decomposition: A meta-analysisEcology.  86:3252-3257. 2005
    2005 Physiological and molecular characterisation of microbial communities associated with different water-stable aggregate size classesSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  37:2007-2016. 2005
    2004 Effects of soil carbon amendment on nitrogen availability and plant growth in an experimental tallgrass prairie restorationRestoration Ecology.  12:568-574. 2004
    2004 Chronic nitrogen enrichment affects the structure and function of the soil microbial community in temperate hardwood and pine forestsForest Ecology and Management.  196:159-171. 2004
    2004 Management effects on the dynamics and storage rates of organic matter in long-term crop rotationsCanadian Journal of Soil Science.  84:49-61. 2004
    2004 Preferential accumulation of microbial carbon in aggregate structures of no-tillage soilsSoil Science Society of America Journal.  68:1249-1255. 2004
    2003 Reciprocal transfer of carbon and nitrogen by decomposer fungi at the soil-litter interfaceSoil Biology and Biochemistry.  35:1001-1004. 2003
    2003 Differentiating between old and new microbially-derived soil organic matter by means of compound-specific stable isotope (delta C-13) analysisACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts.  225:U911-U911. 2003


    Year Title
    2006 Spatial distribution of soil organisms.  283-300. 2006

    Principal Investigator On

  • Collaborative Research: MRA: Distributions of macrofungi: quantifying ecosystem and climate drivers  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2022 - 2025
  • Collaborative Research: LTREB: Soil Warming and Forest Ecosystem Feedbacks to the Climate System  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2020 - 2025
  • Effects of environmental and biotic stress factors on molecular and biochemical aspects of forest trees and related changes in soil chemistry and microbes in Forests  awarded by US DA, United States Forest Service 2020 - 2024
  • OPUS: CRS, Biogeochemical responses to interacting global change drivers and feedbacks to the climate system  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2021 - 2023
  • LTER: From Microbes to Macrosystems  awarded by Harvard University 2019 - 2023
  • NH EPSCoR RII Track-1 Planning Grant  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2022
  • Effects of Stress Factors on Molecular and Biochemical Aspects of Forest Trees and Microbes  awarded by US DA, United States Forest Service 2017 - 2022
  • The "Who" and "How" of Microbial Control Over Soil Carbon Dynamics  awarded by Univ of Massachusetts Amherst 2016 - 2021
  • Resolving Conflicting Physical and Biochemical Feedbacks to Climate in Response to Long-Term Warming  awarded by Univ of Massachusetts Amherst 2016 - 2020
  • Collaborative Research LTREB: Soil Warming and Forest Ecosystem Feedbacks to the Climate System  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2015 - 2020
  • HFR LTER V: New Science, Synthesis, Scholarship, and Strategic Vision of Society  awarded by Harvard University 2013 - 2019
  • Restoration of Soil Microbial Function Following Degradation on DOD Lands: Mediating Biological Invasions in a Gobal Change Context  awarded by University of Massachusetts 2014 - 2019
  • Effects of Abiotic and Biotic Stress Factors in Forest Trees  awarded by US DA, United States Forest Service 2013 - 2018
  • The Changing Diversity and Evolution of Decomposer Fungi in Response to Soil Warming and Nitrogen Additions  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2010 - 2014
  • Restoration of Soil Microbial Function Following Degradation on DoD Lands: Mediating Biological Invasions in a Global Change Context  awarded by Harvard University 2013 - 2014
  • Integrated Studies of Landscape Change  awarded by Harvard University 2006 - 2013
  • Studio Soils: Integrating Soils and Climate Change Issues within a Student-Centered Active Learning Environment  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2010 - 2012
  • Carbon Storage in Forest Soils: Effects of Temperature and Nitrogen Availability on Microbial Growth Efficiency  awarded by Pennsylvania State University 2010 - 2011
  • A Novel Approach to Understanding Microbial Metabolism and Soil Carbon Dynamics  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2005 - 2011
  • Dissertation Research: Response of Decomposer Fingi to Simultaneous Warming and Nitrogen Additions  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2009 - 2010
  • Aboveground-Belowground Interactions: Relating Plant Community Composition and Diversity to Methane Cycling in Wetland Ecosystems  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2005 - 2009
  • Development and Application of a New Approach for Assessing Microbial Metabolism in Soils  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2008 - 2009
  • Microbial Communities Exposed to Chronic Warming  awarded by US DA, United States Forest Service 2006 - 2008
  • Plant and Microbial-Mediated Functions in Created Wetlands  awarded by Ohio State University 2005 - 2007
  • Method Validation  awarded by Dynamic Corp 2006
  • Borlaug Fellowship  awarded by CATIE Tropical Agri Research & Educ Ctr 2006
  • Soil Aggregation Microbial Communities & C Sequestration  awarded by Kansas State University 2002 - 2005
  • Effect of Nitrogen Enrichment Litter Decomposer Community  awarded by National Science Foundation (NSF) 2003 - 2004
  • Microbial Contributions Carbon Sequestration No-Tilage  awarded by US DA, Department of Agriculture 2002 - 2003
  • Teaching Activities

  • Preparation for Capstone Taught course 2022
  • Sem/Anti-Racism in Science Taught course 2022
  • Professional Perspective NR Taught course 2021
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2021
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2021
  • Preparation for Capstone Taught course 2021
  • Sem/Anti-Racism in Science Taught course 2021
  • Professional Perspective NR Taught course 2020
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2020
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2020
  • Preparation for Capstone Taught course 2020
  • Professional Perspective NR Taught course 2019
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2019
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2019
  • Preparation for Capstone Taught course 2019
  • Professional Perspective NR Taught course 2018
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2018
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2018
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2017
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2017
  • Soil Ecology Taught course 2016
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2016
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2015
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2015
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2014
  • Interdisciplinary Research Taught course 2014
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2014
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2014
  • Studio Soils Taught course 2014
  • Doctoral Research Taught course 2014
  • Soil Ecology Taught course 2014
  • Education And Training

  • B.A. Environmental Science, University of Virginia
  • M.S. Environmental Science, University of Virginia
  • Ph.D. Ecology, Colorado State University
  • Full Name

  • Serita Frey