Mary Ann Bruns

Affiliate Researcher
Titles and Affiliations
Professor, Ecosystem Science and Management

My research investigates the effect of management on soil biogeochemistry, microbial communities, and soil quality during agricultural production and degraded land reclamation. Of particular interest are the potential trade-offs between agricultural intensification and climate-smart agricultural practices. Producers are responding to climate change concerns by reducing tillage and increasing organic carbon inputs to soils. Although these management practices are intended to enhance soil carbon sequestration and improve water retention, resulting soil conditions (moister, lower redox, higher carbon) are likely to alter nitrogen cycling and net greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As an example, the application of animal manures to increase soil organic matter and replace fossil fuel-based fertilizers could either increase or decrease GHGs. The challenges involved with incorporating manures in reduced-tillage soils often result in N2O emission spikes immediately following manure application. On the other hand, manures enrich soils with bacteria capable of dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA), a process that could counter N2O production by denitrification. Since bacterial DNRA activity is enhanced by labile forms of carbon, the forms of carbon in soils may play a role in determining the predominant N cycling processes and the extent and duration of DNRA activity. A key question is how management can address the tradeoff of higher N2O emissions from systems employing climate-adaptive practices.

In the News

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Recent Publications

Tillage intensity and plant rhizosphere selection shape bacterial-archaeal assemblage diversity and nitrogen cycling genes

Cloutier, M., Alcaide, T., Duiker, S. & Bruns, M. A., Jan 2023, In: Soil and Tillage Research. 225, 105525.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Ectomycorrhizal diversity on the roots of Pitch pine (Pinus rigida Mill.) saplings as influenced by remediation and soil metal content

Eardly, B. D., Cloutier, M., Chung, T., Roitman, S., Vieira, F. R. & Bruns, M. A. V., Jan 2023, In: Restoration Ecology. 31, 1, e13695.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Phylogenetic Signal, Root Morphology, Mycorrhizal Type and Macroinvertebrate Exclusion: Exploring Wood Decomposition in Soils Conditioned by 13 Temperate Tree Species

Malik, R. J., Bruns, M. A. V., Bell, T. H. & Eissenstat, D. M., Apr 2022, In: Forests. 13, 4, 536.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Integrated weed management with strategic tillage can maintain soil quality in continuous living cover systems

McPheeters, D., Bruns, M. A., Karsten, H. D. & Dell, C. J., Nov 2 2022, In: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems. 6, 907590.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Microbes and Climate Change: a Research Prospectus for the Future

Tiedje, J. M., Bruns, M. A., Casadevall, A., Criddle, C. S., Eloe-Fadrosh, E., Karl, D. M., Nguyen, N. K. & Zhou, J., Jun 2022, In: mBio. 13, 3

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Hydrocarbon substrate richness impacts microbial abundance, microbiome composition, and hydrocarbon loss

Bell, T. H., Camillone, N., Abram, K., Bruns, M. A., Yergeau, E. & St-Arnaud, M., Sep 2021, In: Applied Soil Ecology. 165, 104015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Sorghum root flavonoid chemistry, cultivar, and frost stress effects on rhizosphere bacteria and fungi

Cloutier, M., Chatterjee, D., Elango, D., Cui, J., Bruns, M. A. & Chopra, S., 2021, In: Phytobiomes Journal. 5, 1, p. 39-50 12 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Recovery of waste nutrients by duckweed for reuse in sustainable agriculture: Second-year results of a field pilot study with sorghum

Fernandez Pulido, C. R., Caballero, J., Bruns, M. A. & Brennan, R. A., Oct 1 2021, In: Ecological Engineering. 168, 106273.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

The influence of soil amendments on a native wildflower seed mix in surface mine restoration

Rothman, S. E., Cole, C. A., Bruns, M. A. & Hall, M., Sep 2021, In: Restoration Ecology. 29, 7, e13440.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Organic fertility inputs synergistically increase denitrification-derived nitrous oxide emissions in agroecosystems

Saha, D., Kaye, J. P., Bhowmik, A., Bruns, M. A., Wallace, J. M. & Kemanian, A. R., Oct 2021, In: Ecological Applications. 31, 7, e02403.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Metatranscriptomic sequencing of a cyanobacterial soil-surface consortium with and without a diverse underlying soil microbiome

Bell, T. H., Trexler, R. V., Peng, X., Huntemann, M., Clum, A., Foster, B., Foster, B., Roux, S., Palaniappan, K., Varghese, N., Mukherjee, S., Reddy, T. B. K., Daum, C., Copeland, A., Ivanova, N. N., Kyrpides, N. C., Pennacchio, C., Eloe-Fadrosh, E. A. & Bruns, M. A., Jan 2 2020, In: Microbiology Resource Announcements. 9, 1, e01361-19.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Fungal community shifts in soils with varied cover crop treatments and edaphic properties

Cloutier, M. L., Murrell, E., Barbercheck, M., Kaye, J., Finney, D., García-González, I. & Bruns, M. A., Dec 1 2020, In: Scientific reports. 10, 1, 6198.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Manipulating Wild and Tamed Phytobiomes: Challenges and Opportunities

Bell, T. H., Hockett, K., Alcalá-Briseño, R. I., Barbercheck, M., Beattie, G. A., Bruns, M. A., Carlson, J., Chung, T., Collins, A., Emmett, B., Esker, P., Garrett, K., Glenna, L., Gugino, B. K., Jimenez Gasco, M. D. M., Kinkel, L., Kovac, J., Kowalski, K., Kuldau, G. & Leveau, J. & 10 others, Michalska-Smith, M., Myrick, J., Peter, K., Salazar, M. V., Shade, A., Stopnisek, N., Tan, X., Welty, A., Wickings, K. & Yergeau, E., Mar 13 2019, In: Phytobiomes Journal.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Innovative Technologies Can Improve Understanding of Microbial Nitrogen Dynamics in Agricultural Soils

Cloutier, M. L., Bhowmik, A., Bell, T. H. & Bruns, M. A., 2019, In: Agricultural and Environmental Letters. 4, 1, p. 1-6 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

Duckweed as an agricultural amendment: Nitrogen mineralization, leaching, and sorghum uptake

Kreider, A. N., Fernandez Pulido, C. R., Bruns, M. A. & Brennan, R. A., Mar 1 2019, In: Journal of Environmental Quality. 48, 2, p. 469-475 7 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review