Firestone Lab

Firestone Lab

Soil Microbiology at the University of California, Berkeley





Welcome to the Firestone Lab.

Next time you are outside, we encourage you to look down at the soil beneath your feet. Now, imagine scooping up a small thimble-full of that soil. Did you know that in just that tiny thimble of soil there are 1 billion bacteria and 1 million fungi? Amazing, right? We think so. Our lab studies soil microbial ecology – examining how all those microbes interact with growing plants and with each other, how they break down carbon substrates and cycle nutrients, and how they impact exchange of gases such as CO2, CH4, and N2O between the soil and the atmosphere.

Our recent projects examine topics ranging ranging from: Microbial mediation of soil carbon dynamics; processes in the zone of soil around the plant root, called the rhizospere; using meta-omic approaches to link identity with function (metagenomes to metatranscriptomes to metaproteomes and metabolomes; digging deeper to examine microbial communities in saprolite (proto-soil); and microbial mediation of nitrogen cycling, with a particular focus on the highly reactive nitrous oxide.

We miss @nameerbaker, Sarah and Naila πŸ‘¨β€πŸ‘©β€πŸ‘§ but we are happy to report they are doing great in their new home in Kalamazoo, Michigan! Nameer has started a new position as the science coordinator at the KBS-LTER, a long term research site focused on agricultural ecosystems! πŸ‘πŸŽŠπŸ§¬

If you’re at #AGU2019 and interested in fungi, viruses, and C cycling, come to room 3005 starting at 1:40! (session B53B) πŸ™‚πŸ„πŸ¦ 

Hot off the pre-press from Yonatan Sher and @nameerbaker:

Switchgrass roots and soil water potential control EPS content in a marginal soil, and may interact to enhance the formation of water-stable aggregates

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Latest Blog Posts

Farewell to Jack Hagen
Our lab technician Jack Hagen has left the Firestone Lab for a...
Read More "Farewell to Jack Hagen"
2020 Firestone Graduates
Photo of virtual Sather Gate from Blockley University We are excited to...
Read More "2020 Firestone Graduates"
Firestone COVID-19 Update
Illustration of scientist, photo from New York Times The Firestone lab has...
Read More "Firestone COVID-19 Update"