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Jared DeForest

Jared DeForest, portrait
Professor & Graduate Chair
Porter 419

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Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2004

Other Websites

Forest Soil Ecology Lab

Optimized Lab Protocols for Testing Soils


My research goals are to improve our predictive understanding of how the physical environment alters the structure and function of ecosystems, either natural or anthropogenic. Most of my research involves investigating how soil microbes mediating the cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus and its impact on tree productivity based on mycorrhizal associations. One decade-long project involves understanding the role of elevated soil pH and/or phosphorus influencing soil microbial functional capacity and forest carbon sequestration. My research draws from soil science, ecosystem ecology, microbial ecology, and forestry.

Current and Recent Research Projects

  • Long-term field-based experiment to understand how soil chemistry alters forest function (plant growth, carbon storage, nutrient cycling, microbial functioning).
  • The influence of phosphorus and pH on litter decomposition
  • Effects of phosphorus and pH on microbe-organo-mineral interactions and soil organic matter composition.
  • Investigating tree, mycorrhizal, microbial, and mineral interactions impact on ecosystem function. 

Current and Recent Student Research Projects


  • Soil microbial that are responsible for the cycling of phosphorus.
  • Understanding how soil acidity and phosphorus alter belowground tree carbon allocation.


  • Investigating topography-soil chemistry-plant interactions.
  • The influence of phosphorus and pH on soil nitrification rates.
  • Determining tree nutrient use efficiency under elevated pH and/or phosphorus.

Faculty Research Focus Areas: Ecology


  • PBIO 4/5380: Soils & Ecosystems (Fall)
  • PBIO 2480 Dendrology (Fall)
  • PBIO 2090: Plant Ecology (Spring)

Departmental Service

  • Graduate Chair

Professional Service

Selected References

Within the last 5 years:

Smemo, K.A., Petersen, S.M., Kluber, L.A., Shaw, A.N., DeForest, J.L., 2021. Temporal soil enzyme patterns provide new insights into the nutrient economy of acidic hardwood forests. Biogeochemistry.

DeForest, J.L., Dorkoski, R., Freedman, Z.B., Smemo, K.A. (2021) Multi-year soil microbial and extracellular phosphorus enzyme response to lime and phosphate addition in temperate hardwood forests. Plant and Soil.

Mason, L.M., Eagar, A., Patel, P., Blackwood, C.B., DeForest, J.L., 2020. Potential microbial bioindicators of phosphorus mining in a temperate deciduous forest. Journal of Applied Microbiology, 130, 109-122.

DeForest, J.L. and Moorhead D.L. (2020) Effects of elevated pH and phosphorus fertilizer on the ecoenzymatic stoichiometry of organic and mineral soils in an acidic mixed mesophytic deciduous forest. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 150: 107996.

Dove, N.C., Arogyaswamy, K., Billings, S.A., Bothoff, J.K., Carey, C.J., Cisco, C., DeForest, J. L., Fairbanks, D., Fierer, N., Kaye, J.P., Lohse, K. A., Maltz, M.R., Mayora, E., Pett-Ridge, J., Yang, W.H., Hart, S.C., Aronson, E.L. (2020) Continental-scale patterns of extracellular enzyme activity in the subsoil: an overlooked reservoir of microbial activity. Environmental Research Letters, 15 1040a1.

DeForest, J.L. and Otuya, R.K. (2020). Soil nitrification increases with elevated phosphorus or soil pH in an acidic mixed mesophytic deciduous forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 142: 107716.

DeForest, J.L., and Snell, R.S. (2020). Tree growth response to shifting soil nutrient economy depends on mycorrhizal associations. New Phytologist, 225:2557-2566.

DeForest, J.L. (2019). Chronic phosphorus enrichment and elevated pH suppresses Quercus spp. leaf litter decomposition in a temperate forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 135:206-212.

Lavely, E. K., Zhang, Adams, T. S., Bryla, D., DeForest, J.L., Marini, R. P., Crassweller, R., Eissenstat, D. M. (2018). Root and mycorrhizal fungal foraging responses to fruit removal in apple trees. Plant and Soil, 431(1-2): 401-416. DOI: 10.1007/s11104-018-3773-8

Wang, Y., Li, C., Tu, C., Hoyt, G. D., DeForest, J.L., Hu, S. (2017). Long-term no-tillage and organic input management enhanced the diversity and stability of soil microbial community. Science of The Total Environment, 609, 341–347.

Winings, J. H., Yin, X., Agyin-Birikorang, S., Singh, U., Sanabria, J., Savoy, H. J., Allen, F. L., Saxton, A. M., DeForest, J.L. (2016). Changes of soil microbial population and structure under short-term application of an organically enhanced nitrogen fertilizer. Soil Science, 181(11/12), 494-502.

Cheng, L., Chen, W., Adams, T. S., Wei, X., Li, L., McCormack, M. L., DeForest, J.L., Koide, R. T., Eissenstat, D. M. (2016). Mycorrhizal fungi and roots are complementary in foraging within nutrient patches. Ecology, 97(10), 2815–2823.

Chen, W., Koide, R. T., Adams, T. S., DeForest, J.L., Cheng, L., & Eissenstat, D. M. (2016). Root morphology and mycorrhizal symbioses together shape nutrient foraging strategies of temperate trees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(31), 8741-8746.

DeForest, J.L., Drerup, S. A., Vis-Chiasson, M. (2016). Using fatty acids to fingerprint biofilm communities: A means to quickly and accurately assess stream quality. Environmental Monitoring & Assessment, 188(5).

Carrino-Kyker, S., Kluber, L., Petersen, S., Coyle, K., Hewins, C., DeForest, J.L., Smemo, K., Burke, D. (2016). Effects of Soil pH and P Availability on Arbuscular and Ectomycorrhizal Fungi Colonizing Tree Roots in a Temperate Hardwood Forest, FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 92(3), fiw024.