Thea Whitman

Credentials: Department of Soil Science

Position title: Soil ecology, soil microbiology, terrestrial carbon biogeochemistry, climate change


I am fascinated by the beautiful complexities of soil, from its tiniest inhabitants to its role in the global carbon (C) cycle. My research is situated at the nexus of soil biogeochemistry, microbial ecology, and global environmental change. Focusing on organic matter cycling and the molecular and microbial mechanisms that drive it, I seek to understand the processes that control soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics and SOM interactions with microbes and minerals. My lab combines soil biogeochemistry and microbiology with bioinformatics, molecular work, and fieldwork, in order to conduct fundamental and applied research with relevance for land-use management, agroecology, and climate change policy.

I teach two courses in the spring: Forum on the Environment (SOIL SCI / ENV ST 101), where we investigate global environmental issues, and Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry (SOIL SCI / MICROBIO 523), where we study microbes in the soil environment, including their roles in nutrient cycling, their impact on climate change, and their ecology, as well as the molecular and bioinformatic approaches to studying them.