Serita D. Frey, Ph.D.

Serita D. Frey, Ph.D.



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.


  • 1999 Ph.D. (Ecology), Colorado State University
  • 1992 M.S. (Environmental Science), University of Virginia
  • 1988 B.S. (Environmental Science), University of Virginia

Primary Teaching Responsibilities

  • NR 501: Studio Soils
  • NR 706/806: Soil Ecology

Selected Publications

  • Frey, S.D., J. Lee, J. Melillo, and J.W. Six. 2013. The temperature response of soil microbial efficiency and its feedback to climate. Nature Climate Change (in press)
  • Contosta, A.R., S.D. Frey, S.V. Ollinger, and A.B. Cooper. 2012. Soil respiration does not acclimatize to warmer temperatures when modeled over seasonal timescales.  Biogeochemistry DOI 10.1007/s10533-012-9748-6.
  • Contosta, A.R., S. D. Frey, and A. B. Cooper. 2011. Seasonal dynamics of soil respiration and nitrogen mineralization in chronically warmed and fertilized soils. Ecosphere 2(3), 1-21.
  • Bradford, M.A., C.A. Davies, S.D. Frey, T.R. Maddox, J.M. Melillo, J.E. Mohan, J.F. Reynolds, K.K. Treseder, and M.D. Wallenstein. 2008.  Acclimation of soil microbial respiration to elevated temperature.  Ecology Letters 11, 1316-1327.
  • Frey, S.D., R. Drijber, H. Smith*, and J. Melillo. 2008. Microbial biomass, functional capacity, and community composition after twelve years of soil warming.  Soil Biology & Biochemistry 40, 2904-2907.
  • Bouchard, V., S.D. Frey, J.M Gilbert*, and S. Reed**. 2007. Effects of macrophyte functional group richness on emergent freshwater wetland functions.  Ecology 88(11), 2903-2914.
  • Six, J., S.D. Frey, R.K. Thiet*, and K.M. Batten. 2006. Bacterial and fungal contributions to carbon sequestration in agroecosystems. Soil Science Society of America Journal 70, 555-569.
  • Thiet, R.K.*, S.D. Frey, and J. Six. 2006. Growth yield efficiencies of soil microbial communities with different fungal:bacterial ratios. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 38, 837-844.
  • Knorr, M., S.D. Frey, and P.S. Curtis. 2005. Nitrogen additions and litter decomposition: a meta-analysis.  Ecology 86, 3252-3257.
  • Frey, S.D., M. Knorr, J. Parrent, and R.T. Simpson*. 2004. Chronic nitrogen enrichment affects the structure and function of the soil microbial community in a forest ecosystem.  Forest Ecology and Management 196, 159-171.
  • Frey, S.D., J. Six and E.T. Elliott. 2003. Reciprocal transfer of carbon and nitrogen by decomposer fungi at the soil-litter interface.    Soil Biology & Biochemistry 35, 1001-1004.
  • Frey, S.D., E.T. Elliott, K. Paustian and G. Peterson.  2000. Fungal translocation as a mechanism of exogenous nitrogen inputs to decomposing surface residues in a no-tillage agroecosystem.  Soil Biology & Biochemistry 32, 689-698.                                       
  • Frey, S.D., E.T. Elliott and K. Paustian. 1999. Bacterial and fungal abundance and biomass in conventional and no-tillage agroecosystems along two climatic gradients. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 31, 573-585.

Selected Service Activities

  • Editor-in-Chief, Issues in Ecology, 2012-
  • Board of Editors, Ecology and Ecological Monographs, 2010-
  • Secretary, International Soil Ecology Society, 2009-
  • Chair, UNH Natural Resources and Earth System Science Ph.D. Program, 2010- 
Serita Frey
James Hall, Room 172
Durham, NH 03824