David Rothstein

David Rothstein

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Professor, Forest Ecology / Biogeochemistry & Director of Graduate Studies
Forest Carbon and Climate Program



Ph.D. in Forest Ecology, University of Michigan, 1999
M.S. in Forest Ecology, University of Michigan, 1995
B.A. in Biology and Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, 1992

Research Interests

My background is in forest ecology, forest soils and forest biogeochemistry. My research has included fundamental investigations of plant-soil interactions, carbon and nitrogen cycling in forest soils, and disturbance impacts on biogeochemical cycles in forest ecosystems. Currently, I am focused on applying this fundamental understanding to address real-world problems in sustainable forest management. I am also working on the development of new graduate training approaches aimed at broadening participation of women and minorities in forestry and other environmental sciences.

Information for Prospective Graduate Students

I welcome inquiries from students interested in pursuing MS or PhD degrees. I would particularly encourage students interested in studying: 1) sustainability of forest management from a soil fertility perspective; 2) adaption of forest management for future climate change; or 3) designing new teaching and outreach approaches to engage students from underserved and/or underrepresented communities in forestry and environmental science. Please email me directly with the following: 1) a copy of your resume/CV, 2) a short (1-2 pp) description of your background, career goals and research interests, and 3) names and contact information for 2-3 references. Official MSU graduate applications are due on December 1 of each year, so get me this information well ahead of that deadline.

Recent Publications

Rothstein, D.E. (2018). Effect of Fertilization on Growth and Mortality of Jack Pine Growing on Poor, Sandy Soils in Michigan, USA: Implications for Sustainable Management. Forests, 9(9), 549.

Rothstein, D. E., Toosi, E. R., Schaetzl, R. J., & Grandy, A. S. (2018). Translocation of Carbon from Surface Organic Horizons to the Subsoil in Coarse-Textured Spodosols: Implications for Deep Soil C Dynamics. Soil Science Society of America Journal.

Schaetzl, R. J., Rothstein, D. E., & Samonil, P. (2018). Gradients in Lake Effect Snowfall and Fire across Northern Lower Michigan Drive Patterns of Soil Development and Carbon Dynamics. Annals of the American Association of Geographers, 108(3), 638-657.

Scott, E. E., & Rothstein, D. E. (2017). Patterns of DON and DOC leaching losses across a natural N availability gradient in temperate hardwood forests. Ecosystems, 20(7), 1250-1265.

Santos, F., Wagner, S., Rothstein, D., Jaffe, R., & Miesel, J. R. (2017). Impact of a Historical Fire Event on Pyrogenic Carbon Stocks and Dissolved Pyrogenic Carbon in Spodosols in Northern Michigan. Frontiers in Earth Science, 5, 80.

Fanelli, K. N., & Rothstein, D. E. 2017. Replacement of wildfire by whole-tree harvesting increases nitrification and nitrate movement in jack pine forest soils. Forest Ecology and Management, 402, 115-121.

Shaetzl R.J. & Rothstein D.E. 2016 Temporal variation in the strength of podsolization as indicated by lysimeter data. Geoderma 282: 26-36.

Mladenoff, D.J.,Sahajpal, R., Johnson, C.P., & Rothstein, D.E. 2016. Recent land use change to agriculture in the US Lake States: impacts on cellulosic biomass potential and natural lands.PLOS ONE 10.1371/journal.pone.0148566.

Chao, X., Penton, C.R., Zhang, B., Zhao, M., Rothstein, D.E., Mladenoff, D.J., Forrester, J.A., Shen, Q., &Tiedje, J.M. 2015. Soil fungal and bacterial responses to conversion of open land to short rotation woody biomass crops. Global Change Biology – Bioenergy. DOI: 10.1111/gcbb.12303.

Schaetzl, R. J., Luehmann, M. D., & Rothstein, D. (2015). Pulses of Podzolization: The Relative Importance of Spring Snowmelt, Summer Storms, and Fall Rains on Spodosol Development. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 79(1), 117-131.

Palmer, M. M., Forrester, J. A., Rothstein, D. E., & Mladenoff, D. J. 2014. Conversion of open lands to short‐rotation woody biomass crops: site variability affects nitrogen cycling and N2O fluxes in the US Northern Lake States. GCB Bioenergy 6:450-464.

Rothstein, D. E. 2014. In-situ root uptake and soil transformations of glycine, glutamine and ammonium in two temperate deciduous forests of contrasting N availability. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 75:233-236.

Palmer, M. M., Forrester, J. A., Rothstein, D. E., & Mladenoff, D. J. 2014. Establishment phase greenhouse gas emissions in short rotation woody biomass plantations in the Northern Lake States, USA. Biomass and Bioenergy, 62, 26-36.

Scott, E. E., & Rothstein, D. E. 2014. The dynamic exchange of dissolved organic matter percolating through six diverse soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 69, 83-92.