News & Events

July 7, 2017

Dr. Yang, along with Dr. Robert Sanford of the UIUC Geology Department, received a $150,000 grant from the Ecosystem Science program of the National Science Foundation’s Division of Environmental Biology. They will work with senior personnel, Dr. Joanne Chee-Sanford (USDA-ARS), on the project titled “Unraveling the paradox of dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA) in upland soils.” The team will use state-of-the-art stable isotope and molecular techniques to answer the following the questions: (1) Where can DNRA occur, and why? (2) Who performs DNRA? and (3) How important is DNRA relative to denitrification as a fate of nitrate, and what controls the competition between these two pathways?

April 27, 2017

Congratulations to Ph.D. student, Georgia Seyfried, who received the Francis M. and Harlie M. Clark Research Support Grant from the UIUC School of Integrative Biology! This award provides a $1,000 to support her summer research.

April 20, 2017

Congratulations to Integrative Biology undergraduates, Natcha Suriyavirun and Joseph Edwards! Natcha earned High Distinction for her senior thesis research titled, “Historical soil drainage effects on soil properties, microbial community composition, and greenhouse gas emissions.” She also won the $300 Integrative Biology Distinction Award for excellence in the pursuit of knowledge. Joe earned Highest Distinction for his senior thesis research titled, “Evaluating the use of biochar in mitigating nitrous oxide emissions related to microbial nitrification and denitrification activity in an Illinois maize fields.” Joe also won the $300 Helen Hess Award for a Biology student whose research report was of high merit with respect to the research contribution and written presentation. Both Natcha and Joe’s research were conducted in collaboration with microbial ecologist, Dr. Angela Kent (UIUC Natural Resources and Environmental Science), and Joe’s research was based in the lab of agronomist, Dr. Cameron Pittelkow (UIUC Crop Sciences).

March 17, 2017

Congratulations to Ph.D. student, Sada Egenriether, for winning an Honorable Mention from the Geosciences panel of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program!

April 20, 2016

Ph.D. student, Alex Krichels, received the Lebus Fund Award from the UIUC School of Integrative Biology in recognition of his outstanding academic achievement and research potential. This award includes $1000 to support his research this summer.

March 29, 2016

Integrative Biology junior, Natcha Suriyavirun, won the Robert J. Graesser Award for Undergraduate Research in Plant Biology. This award comes with $1000 to support her stipend and research expenses associated with her senior thesis research on soil drainage legacy effects on soil properties and microbial community composition in Champaign-Urbana agricultural soils. She is also working with graduate student, Alex Krichels, to determine how these legacy effects influence the response of soil greenhouse gas fluxes to contemporary precipitation events.

March 22, 2016

We are thrilled to have three exceptional new graduate students joining the lab in Fall 2016! Sada Egenriether and Georgia Seyfried won the prestigious Illinois Distinguished Fellowship that provides three years of funding for the top incoming graduate students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). Georgia and Caitlin O’Neill won two-year fellowships to join the last cohort of the Vertically Integrated Training in Genomics IGERT program at UIUC. Sada will be co-advised by Dr. Angela Kent, a soil microbial ecologist in the UIUC Natural Resources and Environmental Science department, and will work on the recently funded projects on dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium in agricultural soils.

March 18, 2016
Drs. Yang and Whendee Silver’s paper, “Net soil-atmosphere fluxes mask patterns in gross production and consumption of nitrous oxide and methane in a managed ecosystem,” was published in Biogeosciences.

December 31, 2015
The Illinois Nutrient Research and Education council awarded $125,000 to Drs. Angela Kent (PI), Wendy Yang, and Martin Bohn to study “Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium: An Unexplored Microbial Pathway for Nitrate Retention in Agricultural Soils.” This study complements the USDA-funded study to advance our understanding of the environmental and genetic potential for dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium to occur in Midwest agricultural soils and how management practices could maximize this potential.

December 28, 2015
Dr. Yang was awarded a $100,000 USDA AFRI Exploratory grant to study “Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium: An Unexplored Microbial Pathway for Nitrate Retention in Agricultural Soils.” Dr. Angela Kent from the UIUC Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science is co-PD.

December 15, 2015
Drs. Yang and Whendee Silver’s paper, “Gross nitrous oxide production drives net nitrous oxide fluxes across a salt marsh landscape,” was accepted by Global Change Biology.

December 4, 2015
Dr. Yang presented at the UIUC Plant Biology Departmental Colloquium. The title of her talk was “Does trait-based nutrient limitation drive belowground carbon and nitrogen cycling in a lower montane tropical forest?”

October 19, 2015
Dr. Yang presented about her research conducted as a 2014-2015 National Great River Research and Education Center (NGRREC) Faculty Fellow at the NGRREC 2nd Annual Day of Science in Alton, IL. Her talk was titled, “Investigating the fate of nitrate in agricultural soils, including nitrogen cycling processes and the export of nitrate to streams and rivers.”

September 28-29, 2015
Dr. Yang participated in the Cross Critical Zone Observatory Biogeochemistry SAVI workshop at the University of California, Riverside. In the next year, look for a paper summarizing what workshop participants considered the major biogeochemistry questions in the critical zone, which is defined as the zone from bedrock to the top of the canopy.

August 10-14, 2015
Dr. Yang, Will Eddy, Alex Krichels, and Nate Lawrence traveled to Baltimore, MD for the Centennial Meeting of the Ecological Society of America. Wendy gave a talk titled, “Controls on potential iron reduction in soils from diverse ecosystems.” Alex presented a poster titled, “Does drainage history mediate the response of greenhouse gas emissions to precipitation in an agricultural field?” Nate presented a poster titled, “Mycorrhizal mediation of nitrogen deposition effects on extracellular enzyme activity and soil carbon pools in a montane tropical forest.” Will presented a poster from his dissertation work with Sarah Hobbie: “In situ experimental warming has few effects on the temperature sensitivity of hydrolytic soil enzyme Michaelis-Menten kinetics in two southern boreal forest ecosystems.”

August 3, 2015
Dustin Park and Natcha Suriyavirun, our iBio Summer Undergraduate Research Fellows, presented about their summer research projects at the UIUC iBio Research Symposium. Dustin’s talk was titled, “Does dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium occur in agricultural soils?” Natcha gave a talk titled, “How do soil aggregate separation methods affect aggregate greenhouse gas fluxes?”

April 29, 2015
Dr. Yang received the Joseph B. Hawkes Research Award from the UIUC School of Integrative Biology for a proposal written by her and postdoc, Will Eddy, titled “Assessing Controls on Soil Carbon Storage as an Ecosystem Service Provided by Woody Polyculture Systems.” This $10,000 award will fund research on working woody polyculture farms throughout the Midwest.

December 18-19, 2014
Dr. Yang, together with Dr. Daniel Liptzin, Dr. Sophie Nixon, and Dr. Jemma Wadham, organized a session entitled, “Iron Cycling in Terrestrial Ecosystems and Extreme Environments” at the AGU Fall Meeting. The poster session (B41H) was at 8am-12:20 pm on Thursday, December 11, in Moscone West; Wendy gave a poster (B41H-0157) called, “High Potential for Iron Reduction in Upland Soils from Diverse Terrestrial Ecosystems.” The oral session was at 4-6 pm on Friday, December 12, in Moscone South 102. We had a great lineup of invited speakers including Dr. Oliver Chadwick, Dr. Scott Fendorf, Dr. Eric Roden, and Dr. Whendee Silver.

August 5, 2014
Lily Zhao presented her summer research at the 2014 National Great Rivers Research and Education Center Intern Symposium in Alton, IL. Her poster and talk were titled, “Evaluating soil greenhouse gas emissions from multifunctional perennial buffers.”

June 25, 2014
The UIUC Institute for Sustainability, Energy, and Environment (iSEE) awarded our project, “Multifunctional Woody Polyculture for Sustainability Food Production,” led by Dr. Sarah Taylor Lovell (Crop Sciences) with Co-PIs, Dr. Wendy Yang (Plant Biology & Geology), Dr. Nick Paulson (Agricultural & Consumer Economics). Dr. Jeremy Guest (Civil & Environmental Engineering), Dr. Michelle Wander (Natural Resources & Environmental Sciences), and Dr. Bruce Branham (Crop Sciences). For more information, see the project description at the iSEE website or the Multifunctional Landscape website.

April 28, 2014
Dr. Yang was named a National Great Rivers Research and Education Center Faculty Fellow for 2014-2015.

April 24, 2014
Dr. Yang gave a talk, “High Potential for Iron Reduction in Upland Soils from Diverse Terrestrial Ecosystems,” at the North-Central Section GSA Meeting in Lincoln, Nebraska.

April 4, 2014
Dr. Yang received an award from the UIUC Campus Research Board for her proposal, “Trait-based nutrient limitation: Drivers of belowground carbon and nitrogen cycling response to nitrogen deposition in a tropical montane forest.”

February 7, 2014
Dr. Yang presented at the Plant Biology Grad Recruiting Sampler Colloquium. Her talk was titled, “Studying Ecological and Biogeochemical Processes in a Changing World.”

January 24, 2014
Dr. Yang gave a talk for the UIUC Natural Resources and Environmental Science departmental colloquium titled,”Towards Understanding Controls on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Terrestrial Ecosystems.”

December 9, 2013
Dr. Yang presented on “Controls on Gross Fluxes of Nitrous Oxide and Methane from an Active Agricultural Ecosystem” at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

November 21, 2013
Dr. Yang served on a panel for the UIUC Postdoctoral Affairs Office’s professional development event, “Negotiating a Start up Package.”

November 8, 2013
Dr. Yang presented about “Iron as a Catalyst for Redox Sensitive Biogeochemical Processes” at the UIUC Geology departmental colloquium.

October 25, 2013
Dr. Yang presented about “Invasive Perennial Pepperweed Effects on Soil Nitrogen Cycling” at the UIUC Plant Biology departmental colloquium.

October 18, 2013
Dr. Yang and Jonathan Treffkorn joined Dr. Rich Phillip’s lab for a fun day of hiking in the hardwood forests located near Bloomington, IN. It was an interesting day sampling soil greenhouse gas emissions using borrowed field equipment, but we look forward to seeing if nitrogen fertilization and mycorrhizal associations affect greenhouse gas emissions. A highlight of the day was zapping the soil to see if earthworm burrowing caused a sudden release of greenhouse gases from the soil!

October 17, 2013
Dr. Yang gave a talk, “Towards Understanding the Controls on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Terrestrial Ecosystems” for the School of Public and Environmental Affairs’ Environmental Science Seminar at Indiana University.