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Wendy Yang


Research Interests

Terrestrial biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology, stable isotope ecology, soil-atmosphere greenhouse gas dynamics, climate change

Research Description

I am broadly interested in how human activities are changing how natural and managed ecosystems function and how ecosystem responses to global change can feedback to drive or slow future global change. My research is in terrestrial biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology with a focus on determining process rates and drivers of chemical transformations in the environment. I am particularly interested in the controls on greenhouse gas emissions, the effects of anthropogenic nitrogen inputs on soil nitrogen retention and loss, the effects of plant community composition shifts on soil nitrogen and carbon dynamics, and the coupling of biogeochemical cycles beyond carbon and nitrogen. An important component of my research is the development of novel methodological approaches using tracer and natural abundance stable isotope techniques, in particular to quantify soil dinitrogen emissions and gross fluxes of greenhouse gases.

My research program currently includes projects within two major themes:

  1. Controls on Redox-Sensitive Biogeochemical Processes
  2. Plant Community Composition Effects on Biogeochemical Processes

Specific projects include:

  • Effects of Rainfall Intensification on Soil Greenhouse Gas Emissions in the Midwest
  • Controls on Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium in Upland Soils
  • Iron-mediated Biogeochemistry in Terrestrial Ecosystems
  • Woody Polycultures as a Transformative Solution to Sustainable Agriculture
  • Mycorrhizal Mediation of Forest Nutrient and Carbon Cycling
  • Invasive Species Effects on Ecosystem Nitrogen Dynamics
  • Plant-Soil-Microbe Interactions in Bioenergy Cropping Systems as part of the Center for Advanced Bioenergy and Bioproducts Innovation (CABBI)


Ph.D., 2010, University of California, Berkeley
B.A., 2003, Harvard University

Additional Campus Affiliations

Professor, Plant Biology
Professor, Earth Science and Environmental Change
Professor, Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment
Affiliate, Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology
Professor, Center for Digital Agriculture, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)

Recent Publications

Berardi, D. M., Hartman, M. D., Brzostek, E. R., Bernacchi, C. J., DeLucia, E. H., von Haden, A. C., Kantola, I., Moore, C. E., Yang, W., Hudiburg, T. W., & Parton, W. J. (2024). Microbial-explicit processes and refined perennial plant traits improve modeled ecosystem carbon dynamics. Geoderma, 443, Article 116851.

Edwards, J. D., Krichels, A. H., Seyfried, G. S., Dalling, J., Kent, A. D., & Yang, W. H. (Accepted/In press). Soil microbial community response to ectomycorrhizal dominance in diverse neotropical montane forests. Mycorrhiza.

von Haden, A. C., Eddy, W. C., Burnham, M. B., Brzostek, E. R., Yang, W. H., & DeLucia, E. H. (Accepted/In press). Root exudation links root traits to soil functioning in agroecosystems. Plant and Soil.

Almaraz, M., Wong, M. M., & Yang, W. H. (2023). Editorial: New frontiers and paradigms in terrestrial nitrogen cycling. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 6, Article 1196146.

Blanc-Betes, E., Gomez-Casanovas, N., Yang, W. H., Chandrasoma, J., Clark, T. J., De Lucia, E. H., Hyde, C. A., Kent, A. D., Pett-Ridge, J., Rabinowitz, J., Raglin, S. S., Schwender, J., Shen, Y., Van Allen, R., & von Haden, A. C. (2023). Accelerating the development of a sustainable bioenergy portfolio through stable isotopes. GCB Bioenergy, 15(7), 840-866.

View all publications on Illinois Experts