Associate Professor of Natural Resources and the Environment
Serita Frey understands that soil microbes—primarily fungi—have an image problem. They’re dirt, after all, and the marquee member of the group is the mushroom, hardly a dolphin or polar bear in terms of charisma. “To bubble over about soil organisms is not easy for me,” she says.
But Frey, emerging as an international leader in the field of soil microbial ecology, urges those who would turn up a wrinkled nose at fungi to consider this: Without fungi working their decomposition magic in the Northeast’s forests, we’d be buried in leaves.