Sarah Neumann

Sarah Neumann

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Adjunct Assistant Professor, Forest Ecology
Department of Forestry


PhD in Forestry and in Ecology, Evolution and Behavioral Biology, Michigan State University, 2008
BS in Biology, University of the South, 1999

Research Interests

I am a forest ecologist whose research (both greenhouse and field based) focuses on plant-soil feedbacks as a mechanism for shaping community composition, structure and productivity of temperate and tropical forests.  In particular, I am interested in feedbacks between plants and their soil community (both damping-off and mycorrhizal fungi as well as abiotic mediated feedbacks) and the impact that these feedbacks can have on maintenance of tree species diversity, exotic plant invasions as well as native species shifting range boundaries due to climate change.  I also investigate how abiotic factors (e.g. climate, light, soil fertility or moisture) can impact the occurrence or strength of these feedbacks. I use a mechanistic approach in my research to investigate the causes or processes underlying patterns occurring at the community level.

Selected Publications

Evans, J., S. McCarthy-Neumann, A. Pritchard, J. Cartwright & W. Wolfe. A forested wetland at a climate-induced tipping-point: 17-year demographic evidence of widespread tree recruitment failure. (In press at Forest Ecology and Management).

Reinhart, K.O., B. T. Bauer, S. McCarthy-Neumann, A.S. MacDougall, J.L. Hierro, M.C.Chiuffo, S.A. Mangan, J. Heinze, J. Bergmann, J. Joshi, R.P. Duncan, J.M. Diez, P. Kardol, G.Rutten, M. Fischer, W. H. van der Putten, T.M. Bezemer & J. Klironomos. 2021. Globally, plant-soil feedbacks are weak predictors of plant abundance. Ecology and Evolution. doi:10.1002/ece3.7167

McCarthy-Neumann, S. & R.K. Kobe. 2019. Site soil-fertility and light availability influence plant-soil feedback. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2019.00383.

Ibáñez, I. and McCarthy-Neumann, S. 2016. Effects of mycorrhizal fungi on tree seedling growth: quantifying the parasitism-mutualism transition along a light gradient. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 46:48-57.

Ibáñez, I. and McCarthy-Neumann, S. 2014 Integrated assessment of the direct and indirect effects of resource gradients on tree species recruitment. Ecology 95(2):364-375.

McCarthy-Neumann, S. & I. Ibáñez. 2013. Negative-plant soil feedback links negative distance dependence and light gradient partitioning during seedling establishment. Ecology 94: 780-786.

McCarthy-Neumann, S. & I. Ibáñez. 2012. Escape from negative plant-soil feedbacks may enhance tree range expansion. Ecology 93: 2637-2649.

McCarthy-Neumann, S. & R.K. Kobe. 2010. Conspecific plant-soil feedbacks reduce survivorship and growth of tropical tree seedlings. Journal of Ecology 98: 396-407.

McCarthy-Neumann, S. & R.K. Kobe. 2010. Conspecific and heterospecific plant-soil feedbacks influence survivorship and growth of temperate tree seedlings. Journal of Ecology 98:408-418.

McCarthy-Neumann, S. & R.K. Kobe. 2008. Tolerance of soil pathogens co-varies with shade tolerance across species of tropical tree seedlings. Ecology 89: 1883-1892.

Wolfe, W., J. Evans, S. McCarthy, W. Gain, & B. Bryan. 2004. Tree-regeneration and mortality patterns and hydrologic change in a forested karst wetland- Sinking Pond, Arnold Air Force Base, TN. USGS. Water-Resources Investigations Report.

McCarthy, S. & J. Evans. 2000. Population dynamics of overcup oak (Quercus lyrata) in a seasonally flooded karst depression. Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 127:9- 18.