Lisa Tiemann, Ph.D.

Lisa Tiemann

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Assistant Prof. - Soil Biology/Ecology & Biogeochemistry; mechanisms of soil organic matter formation & microbial controls on soil nitrogen cycling
Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences



B.M., University of Wyoming
Ph.D., University of Kansas
Postdoc., University of New Hampshire

Overview of current program:

Dr. Tiemann views soil organic matter (SOM) dynamics and nitrogen cycling through a microbial lens. With a new, microbially oriented view of SOM formation, microbial community structure, biofilm formation, microbial productivity and microbial growth efficiency are all factors likely to influence and contribute to SOM formation and stabilization; however these factors have rarely been explored in this context. This emerging area of research provides a framework for testing questions about soil microbial community dynamics in relation to environmental change and important ecosystem services such as soil fertility and nitrogen cycling. Dr. Tiemann uses a combination of physical, biochemical and genetic research techniques ranging from fundamental soil analyses to isotopic tracers to metagenomics in her exploration of questions related to soil biogeochemistry and ecology. Mechanisms controlling SOM stability are directly related to soil resilience and ultimately, sustainability, in both natural and agricultural systems. The maintenance or recovery of SOM to promote soil fertility and sustainability cannot be achieved through scientific insights into soil processes alone. Therefore, Dr. Tiemann integrates social and environmental factors controlling SOM dynamics, using a multidisciplinary approach to determine the causes and consequences of SOM and soil fertility loss from both ecosystem and management perspectives, in a wide range of managed systems. 


  1. McDaniel, M. D, Grandy, A. S., Tiemann, L. K. and M. N. Weintraub. 2014. Crop rotation complexity regulates the decomposition of high and low quality residues. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 78: 243-254.
  2. Billings, S. A. and L. K. Tiemann. 2014. Warming-induced enhancement of soil N2O efflux linked to distinct response times of genes driving N2O production and consumption. Biogeochemistry 119: 371-386. 
  3. Tiemann, L. K. and A. S. Grandy. In press. Mechanisms of soil carbon accrual and storage in bioenergy cropping systems. GCB Bioenergy. doi: 10.1111/gcbb.12126. 
  4. McDaniel, M. D, Tiemann, L. K. and A. S. Grandy. 2013. Does agricultural crop diversity enhance soil microbial biomass and organic matter dynamics? a meta-analysis. Ecological Applications 24: 560-570 (
  5. Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2012. Tracking C and N flows through microbial biomass with increased soil moisture variability. Soil Biology and Biogeochemistry, 49: 11-22, (DOI:10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.01.030). 
  6. Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2011. Changes in variability of soil moisture alter microbial community C and N resource use. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 43: 1837-1847, DOI:10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.04.020.
  7. Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2011. Indirect effects of nitrogen amendments on organic substrate quality increase enzymatic activity driving decomposition in a mesic grassland. Ecosystems 14: 234-247, DOI: 10.1007/s10021-010-9406-6. 
  8. Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2008. Carbon controls on nitrous oxide production with changes in substrate availability in a North American grassland. Soil Science 173: 332-341, DOI: 10.1097/SS.0b013e31816d1ea9.
  9. Tiemann, L. K. and T. R. Seastedt. 2006. Study shows introduced thistle may facilitate growth of some native grasses (Colorado). Ecological Restoration 24: 58-59. 

Courses Taught:

  • CSS 360 – Soil Biology