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Colleen M. Iversen, Ph. D.

My goal is to understand and predict how ecosystems are shaped by climate change. ​My work takes me from upland forests to soggy peatlands to thawing arctic tundra, chasing a better understanding of the secret lives of roots hidden beneath the soil surface.


Senior Staff Scientist/ Ecosystem Ecologist


Oak Ridge National Laboratory


“I am an ecosystem ecologist who uses a variety of field and laboratory techniques to understand and predict how ecosystems are shaped by climatic change. Specifically, I work at the root-soil interface to investigate how atmospheric and climatic change alters belowground carbon and nutrient cycling.

My science takes me to a number of interesting and beautiful ecosystems from bogs to temperate forests to Arctic tundra, and I lead a team that curates the largest root trait database in the world,  FRED.”

Recent Publications:

Bergman J, Weigelt A, van der Plas F, Laughlin DC, Kuyper TW, Guerrero-Ramirez N, Valverde-Barrantes OJ, Bruelheide H, Freschet GT, Iversen CM, Kattge J, McCormack ML, Meier IC, Rillig MC, Roumet C, Semchenko M, Sweeney CJ, van Ruijven J, York LM, Mommer L. 2020. The fungal collaboration gradient dominates the root economics space in plants. Science Advances 6: eaba3756. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aba3756

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