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Dr. Peter M. Groffman

Microbial Ecologist | PhD, 1984, University of Georgia

soil ecology, water quality

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Peter Groffman studies how microbial processes impact gas exchange - particularly nitrogen - between the soil and air. His work encompasses rural and urban ecosystems, and is primarily centered at two of the National Science Foundation’s Long Term Ecological Research sites located in Hubbard Brook, New Hampshire and Baltimore, Maryland.

As a result of climate change, forests in the northeastern US are experiencing reduced winter snow cover. This change leaves the forest soil exposed to subfreezing temperatures for extended periods. Without a layer of insulating snow, important biological activity that usually continues throughout the winter stops. Freezing damages tender tree roots. Increased winter rain washes nitrogen and phosphorus - nutrients critical to tree growth - out of the soil, threatening forest productivity and water quality. Bare soils produce more nitrous oxide and consume less methane - both potent greenhouse gases. Understanding these processes will inform forest management as climate warms.

Urbanization is a global trend marked by increasing homogenization of the landscape; imagine the cookie cutter properties that characterize ‘suburbia’. Understanding landscape homogenization will help predict the impacts of urban land use change and its effects on carbon storage and nitrogen pollution, on multiple spatial scales.

Groffman is also a Professor at the City University of New York Advanced Science Research Center at the Graduate Center and the Brooklyn College Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

Cubino, Josep Padullés, Meghan L. Avolio, Megan M. Wheeler, Kelli L. Larson, Sarah E. Hobbie, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Sharon J. Hall, et al. 2020. “Linking Yard Plant Diversity To Homeowners’ Landscaping Priorities Across The U.s”. Landscape And Urban Planning 196. Elsevier BV: 103730. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2019.103730.
Campbell, John L., Lindsey E. Rustad, Charles T. Driscoll, Ian Halm, Timothy J. Fahey, Habibollah Fakhraei, Peter M. Groffman, Gary J. Hawley, Wendy Leuenberger, and Paul G. Schaberg. 2020. “Simulating Impacts Of Ice Storms On Forest Ecosystems”. Journal Of Visualized Experiments. MyJove Corporation. doi:10.3791/61492.
Weintraub, Samantha R., Alejandro N. Flores, William R. Wieder, Debjani Sihi, Claudia Cagnarini, Daniel Ruiz Potma Gonçalves, Michael H. Young, et al. 2019. “Leveraging Environmental Research And Observation Networks To Advance Soil Carbon Science”. Journal Of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 124 (5). American Geophysical Union (AGU): 1047-1055. doi:10.1029/2018jg004956.
Cubino, J. P., Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Sarah E. Hobbie, Sharon J. Hall, Tara L.E. Trammell, Christopher Neill, Meghan L. Avolio, Lindsay E. Darling, and Peter M. Groffman. 2019. “Contribution Of Non-Native Plants To The Phylogenetic Homogenization Of Us Yard Floras”. Ecosphere 10 (3). doi:10.1002/ecs2.2638.
Cubino, J. P., Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Sarah E. Hobbie, Diane E. Pataki, Meghan L. Avolio, Lindsay E. Darling, Kelli L. Larson, et al. 2019. “Drivers Of Plant Species Richness And Phylogenetic Composition In Urban Yards At The Continental Scale”. Landscape Ecology 34 (1): 63 - 77. doi:10.1007/s10980-018-0744-7.
Weitzman, Julie N., Peter M. Groffman, John Campbell, Charles T. Driscoll, Robert Fahey, Timothy J. Fahey, Paul G. Schaberg, and Lindsey E. Rustad. 2019. “Ecosystem Nitrogen Response To A Simulated Ice Storm In A Northern Hardwood Forest”. Ecosystems. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1007/s10021-019-00463-w.
Sorensen, P., Jennifer M. Bhatnagar, Lynn M. Christenson, Jorge Durán, Timothy J. Fahey, Melany C. Fisk, A.C. Finzi, Peter M. Groffman, Jennifer L. Morse, and Pamela H. Templer. 2019. “Roots Mediate The Effects Of Snowpack Decline On Soil Bacteria, Fungi, And Nitrogen Cycling In A Northern Hardwood Forest”. Frontiers In Microbiology 10. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2019.00926.
Templeton, Laura K., Maile C. Neel, Peter M. Groffman, Mary L. Cadenasso, and Joe H. Sullivan. 2019. “Changes In Vegetation Structure And Composition Of Urban And Rural Forest Patches In Baltimore From 1998 To 2015”. Forest Ecology And Management 454. Elsevier BV: 117665. doi:10.1016/j.foreco.2019.117665.
Ni, Xiangyin, Shu Liao, Fuzhong Wu, and Peter M. Groffman. 2019. “Short-Term Precipitation Pulses Stimulate Soil Co2 Emission But Do Not Alter Ch4 And N2O Fluxes In A Northern Hardwood Forest”. Soil Biology And Biochemistry 130: 8 - 11. doi:10.1016/j.soilbio.2018.11.021.
Frelich, Lee E, Bernd Blossey, Erin K Cameron, Andrea Dávalos, Nico Eisenhauer, Timothy Fahey, Olga Ferlian, et al. 2019. “Side‐Swiped: Ecological Cascades Emanating From Earthworm Invasions”. Frontiers In Ecology And The Environment 17 (9). Wiley: 502-510. doi:10.1002/fee.2099.
Locke, Dexter H., Colin Polsky, Morgan Grove, Peter M. Groffman, Kristen C. Nelson, Kelli L. Larson, Jeannine Cavender-Bares, et al. 2019. “Residential Household Yard Care Practices Along Urban-Exurban Gradients In Six Climatically-Diverse U.s. Metropolitan Areas”. Plos One 14 (11). Public Library of Science (PLoS): e0222630. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0222630.
Sanders-DeMott, Rebecca, John L. Campbell, Peter M. Groffman, Lindsey E. Rustad, and Pamela H. Templer. 2019. “Soil Warming And Winter Snowpacks: Implications For Northern Forest Ecosystem Functioning”. In Ecosystem Consequences Of Soil Warming, 245-278. Elsevier. doi:10.1016/b978-0-12-813493-1.00011-9.
Trammell, Tara L. E., Diane E. Pataki, Christopher J. Still, James R. Ehleringer, Meghan L. Avolio, Neil D. Bettez, Jeannine Cavender‐Bares, et al. 2019. “Climate And Lawn Management Interact To Control C -4 Plant Distribution In Residential Lawns Across Seven U.s. Cities”. Ecological Applications 29 (4). Wiley: e01884. doi:10.1002/eap.1884.
Reisinger, Alexander J., Ellen Woytowitz, Emily Majcher, Emma J. Rosi, Kenneth T Belt, Jonathan M. Duncan, Sujay S. Kaushal, and Peter M. Groffman. 2018. “Changes In Long-Term Water Quality Of Baltimore Streams Are Associated With Both Gray And Green Infrastructure”. Limnology And Oceanography 64 (S1): S60 - S76. doi:10.1002/lno.10947.
Rosenzweig, Bernice R., Peter M. Groffman, Chester B. Zarnoch, Brett F. Branco, Ellen K. Hartig, James Fitzpatrick, Helen M. Forgione, and Adam Parris. 2018. “Nitrogen Regulation By Natural Systems In “Unnatural” Landscapes: Denitrification In Ultra-Urban Coastal Ecosystems”. Ecosystem Health And Sustainability 4 (9). Informa UK Limited: 205-224. doi:10.1080/20964129.2018.1527188.
Webster, Alex J., Peter M. Groffman, and Mary L. Cadenasso. 2018. “Controls On Denitrification Potential In Nitrate-Rich Waterways And Riparian Zones Of An Irrigated Agricultural Setting”. Ecological Applications 28 (4): 1055 - 1067. doi:10.1002/eap.1709.
Gutiérrez, Jorge L., Clive G. Jones, P.D. Ribiero, Stuart E. G. Findlay, and Peter M. Groffman. 2018. “Crab Burrowing Limits Surface Litter Accumulation In A Temperate Salt Marsh: Implications For Ecosystem Functioning And Connectivity”. Ecosystems 21 (5): 1000 - 1012. doi:10.1007/s10021-017-0200-6.
Ni, Xiangyin, and Peter M. Groffman. 2018. “Declines In Methane Uptake In Forest Soils”. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences 115 (34): 8587 - 8590. doi:10.1073/pnas.1807377115.
Pearse, W. D., Jeannine Cavender-Bares, Sarah E. Hobbie, Meghan Avolio, Neil D. Bettez, Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Lindsay Darling, et al. 2018. “Homogenization Of Plant Diversity, Composition, And Structure In North American Urban Yards”. Ecosphere 9 (2): e02105. doi:10.1002/ecs2.2105.
Locke, Dexter H., Meghan Avolio, Tara L.E. Trammell, Rinku Roy Chowdhury, Morgan Grove, John Rogan, Deborah G. Martin, et al. 2018. “A Multi-City Comparison Of Front And Backyard Differences In Plant Species Diversity And Nitrogen Cycling In Residential Landscapes”. Landscape And Urban Planning 178: 102 - 111. doi:10.1016/j.landurbplan.2018.05.030.

Current Projects

Articles by Peter Groffman