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Shuijin Hu


Soil Microbial Ecology

Gardner Hall 2414



Microbial mediation of plant and ecosystem responses to global change components. We are currently investigating the mechanisms through which soil microorganisms mediate plant and ecosystem responses to elevated atmospheric CO2, O3 and N inputs. Our major focus is on how microorganisms respond to alterations in C and N availability under these global change components, and what are the implications of the resulting changes in terms of ecosystem C storage.

Microbial interactions and pathogen/disease suppression. We want to know whether and how the structure, diversity and activities of soil microbial and mesofaunal communities influence the population dynamics and activities of soilborne pathogenic fungi, Pythium spp. and Rhizoctonia spp. in particular.

Microbial mediation of plant interactions. We are interested in understanding how microbes, mycorrhizal and endophytic fungi in particular, modulate the interactions among coexisting plant species. Effects of disturbance on the structure and activities of soil organisms. Our current research examines how disturbance such as conventional farming and elevated atmospheric CO2 affects soil microbes and soil food web interactions and how the resulting alterations in soil organisms influence C and N cycling.

Focused Areas:

  • Soil Microbial Ecology
  • Ecosystem Ecology

Current Projects:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions from agroecosystems
  • Mycorrhizal effects on soil C and N dynamics under elevated CO2 and climate
  • Endophytic bacteria in switchgrass and their effects on soil C and N cycling


  • Soil/Ecosystem Ecology, PP590/790E
  • Ecology, Evolution & Biodiversity, BO 595E (co-teaching)
  • Climate Chang and Agriculture. PP590/PP790 (Special Topics)
  • New and re-emerging plant diseases in the US (Discussion group) (PP610Y/810Y)

Honors and Awards:

  • 2002:  William Boright Hewitt Award, American Phytopathological Society
  • 2002: NSF China: Outstanding Young Scientist Fellowship
  • 1996: NSF Postdoctoral Fellowship in Bioscience Related to the Environment

Selected Publications:

  • Qiao C, Liu LL, Hu S, Compoton JE, Greaver TL, Ji Q. 2014. A meta-analysis of how
    inhibiting nitrification affects nitrogen cycle and reduces environmental impacts of
    anthropogenic nitrogen input. Global Change Biology. In press.
  • Lee MR, Tu C, Chen X, Hu S. 2014. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi enhance P uptake and
    alter plant morphology in the invasive plant Microstegium vimineum. Biological Invasions
    16: 1083-1093.
  • Rua MA, Umbanhowar J, Hu SJ, Burkey KO, Mitchell CE. 2013. Elevated CO2 spurs
    reciprocal positive effects between a plant virus and an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus. New Phytologist 199: 541-549.
  • Cheng L, Booker FL, Tu C, Burkey KO, Zhou LS, Rufty TW, Fiscus EL, Shew DH, Hu S.
    2012. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi increase organic C decomposition under elevated CO2.
    Science 337: 1084-1088.
  • Cheng, L., F.L. Booker, K.O. Burkey, C. Tu, H.D. Shew, T.W. Rufty, E.L. Fiscus, S. Hu. 2011. Soil microbial responses to elevated CO2 and O3 in wheat-soybean agroecosystems. PLoS One. In press.
  • Cheng, L., J. Zhu, G. Chen, X. Zheng, N.O. Oh, T.W. Rufty, D.B. Richter, S. Hu, 2010. Atmospheric CO2 enrichment facilitates cation release from soil. Ecology Letters 13: 284-291.
  • Liu, L., J.S. King, F.L. Booker, C.P. Giardina, H.L. Allen, S. Hu. 2009. Enhanced litter input rather than changes in litter chemistry drive soil carbon and nitrogen cycles under elevated CO2: a microcosm study. Global Change Biology 15: 441-453.
  • Shao, M., J. Wang, R.A. Dean, Y. Lin, X. Gao, S. Hu. 2008. Expression of a harpin-encoding gene in rice confers durable nonspecific resistance to Magnaporthe grisea. Plant Biotechnology Journal 6, 73-81.
  • Chen, X., C. Tu, M. Bouton, D. Watson and S. Hu. 2007. Plant nitrogen acquisition and interactions under elevated CO2: impact of mycorrhizae and endophytes. Global Change Biology 23, 1238–1249.
  • Tu, C., F.L. Booker, D.M. Watson, X. Chen, T.W. Rufty, W. Shi, and S. Hu. 2006. Mycorrhizal mediation of plant N acquisition and residue decomposition: Impact of mineral N inputs. Global Change Biology 12, 793–803.
  • Tu C, Ristaino JB, Hu S. 2006. Soil microbial biomass and activity in organic farming systems: Effects of organic inputs and straw mulching. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 38: 247-255.
  • Hu, S., J.S. Wu, K.O. Burkey, and M.K. Firestone 2005. Plant-microbial N partitioning under elevated atmospheric CO2 in two mesocosm experiments with annual grasses. Global Change Biology 11, 213–223.
  • Zhang, W., K.M. Parker, Y.O. Luo, S. Wan, and S. Hu. 2005. Soil microbial responses to experimental warming and clipping in a tallgrass prairie. Global Change Biology 11, 266–277.
  • Booker, F.L., S.A. Prior, H.A. Torbert, E.L. Fiscus, W.A. Pursley, S. Hu. 2005. Influence of elevated CO2 and O3 on soybean residue chemistry and decomposition. Global Change Biology 11, 685–698.
  • Hu, S., F. S. Chapin, III, M. K. Firestone, C. B. Field and N. R. Chiariello. 2001. Nitrogen limitation of microbial decomposition in a grassland under elevated CO2. Nature 409, 188–191.
  • Hu, S., M. K. Firestone and F. S. Chapin III. 1999. Soil microbial feedbacks to atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 14, 433–437.
  • Hu, S., M. K. Firestone and F. S. Chapin III. 1998. Elevated atmospheric CO2 and soil biota. Science 281, 518.
  • Hu, S. and A. H. C. van Bruggen. 1997. Microbial dynamics associated with multiphasic decomposition of 14C-labeled cellulose in soil. Microbial Ecology 33, 134–143.
  • Hu S, Coleman DC, Carroll CR, Hendrix PF, Beare MH. 1997. Labile soil carbon pools in humid subtropical agricultural and forest ecosystems as influenced by management practices and vegetation types. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 65: 69-78.
  • Beare MH, Hu S, Coleman DC Hendrix PF. 1997. Influences of mycelial fungi on soil aggregation and organic matter storage in conventional and no-tillage soils. Applied Soil Ecology 5: 211-219.
  • Hu S, Coleman DC, Beare MH, Hendrix PF. 1995. Soil carbohydrates in aggrading and
    degrading agroecosystems: influences of fungi and aggregates. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 54: 77-88.