Jeffrey Bird









Undergraduate Adviser: Environmental Sciences and Environmental Studies majors and minors

Soil Biogeochemistry/ Ecosystem Ecology

Science Building, Room E220
Phone: 718-997-3332
Soil Biochemistry Research Lab


Research Interests

Professor Bird’s biogeochemistry research group is focused on belowground C, N and S cycling in terrestrial ecosystems.  Soils are critical controllers on the flow of matter and energy in the environment and are considered especially important in the Earth’s response to Global Change.  Soils act as both a significant source of atmospheric greenhouse gases (i.e., carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) and as a sizable stable sink for plant C and N inputs.  Bird’s research group investigates how soil microbial communities, plants, climate and mineralogy interact to control the turnover, loss or stabilization of soil C and N in temperate and tropical ecosystems.  The Bird lab uses stable isotopic tracers (13C and 15N) to follow C and N among plants, soil microbes, and mineral surfaces to better understand how soils support ecological productivity and environmental quality.

The Bird terrestrial biogeochemistry research group is involved in several field and laboratory research projects that focus on the biological, chemical and physical controls on C and N cycling in temperate and tropical ecosystems.

Focus areas:

  • Pyrogenic organic matter (black carbon) decomposition and transport dynamics in temperate ecosystems
  • The effect of N deposition on soil C turnover
  • How plant roots interact with soil C cycling and affect soil microbial activity
  • The role of microbial community structure on soil C dynamics
  • The contribution of above versus belowground plant C input on soil C dynamics
  • The stabilization mechanisms of soil C and N (physical and chemical)


Courses Taught

Undergraduate Courses:

  • ENSCI100: Our Planet in the 21st Century (with lab)
  • ENSCI200: Earth Systems Science
  • HMNS225: Seminar 3: Environmental Science and Technology in NYC
  • ENSCI203: Environmental Microbiology
  • GEOL318: Soils in the Environment (with lab)
  • GEOL370: Biogeochemistry

Graduate Courses:

  • GEOL768: Soils, Wetlands, and Biodegradation
  • Graduate Seminar 799: Current topics in Biogeochemistry
  • Graduate Seminar 799: Molecular Methods in Environmental Microbiology


Undergraduate Academic Advisor

Environmental Science BA, BS degrees

School of Earth & Environmental Sciences Queens College, CUNY   (2011-present)



Auclerc A., J.M., LeMoine, P.J. Hatton, J.A. Bird, K.J. Nadelhoffer. 2019. Decadal post-fire succession of soil invertebrate communities is dependent on the soil surface properties in a Northern Temperate forest. Science of the Total Environment 647: 1058-1068. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.08.041

Gibson, C.D., P.J. Hatton, J.A. Bird, K.J. Nadelhoffer, C.P. Ward, R.E. Stark, T.R. Filley. 2018. Interacting controls of pyrolysis temperature and plant taxa on the degradability of PyOM in a fire-prone Northern Temperate forest soil. Soil Systems 2:48-65. (Feature article in Special Issue on SOM Dynamics) doi:10.3390/soilsystems2030048

Brigham, B., G. O’Mullan, J.A. Bird. 2018. Acetate additions stimulate CO2 and CH4 production from urban wetland soils. Soil Science Society of America Journal. (online 8-2-18) doi: 10.2136/sssaj2018.01.0034

Gibson, C.D., P.J. Hatton, J.A. Bird, K.J. Nadelhoffer, T.R. Filley. 2018. Tree taxa and pyrolysis temperature interact to control pyrogenic organic matter induced native soil organic carbon priming. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 119:174-183. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2018.01.022

Pries, C. H., J.A. Bird, C. Castanha, P.J. Hatton, M.S. Torn. 2017. Long term decomposition: The influence of litter type and soil horizon on retention of plant carbon and nitrogen in soils. Biogeochemistry Letters 34:5-16. doi: 10.1007/s10533-017-0345-6

Wang, R. C.D. Gibson, T.D. Berry, Y. Jiang, J.A. Bird, T.R. Filley. 2017. Photooxidation of pyrogenic organic matter (PyOM) reduces the reactive, labile C pool and the apparent soil oxidative microbial enzyme response. Geoderma 293:10-18. doi: 10.1016/j.geoderma.2017.01.011

Hatton, P.J., S. Chatterjee, T.R. Filley, K. Dastmalchi, A.F. Plante, S. Abiven, X. Ga, C.A. Masiello, S.W. Leavitt, K.J. Nadelhoffer, R.E. Stark, J.A. Bird. 2016. Tree taxa and pyrolysis temperature interact to control the efficacy of pyrogenic organic matter formation. Biogeochemistry 130: 103-116. doi: 10.1007/s10533-016-0245-1

Santos, F., K.J. Nadelhoffer, J.A. Bird. 2016. Rapid fine root C and N mineralization in a northern temperate forest soil. Biogeochemistry 128:187-200. doi: 10.1007/s10533-016-0202-z

Gibson, C., T.D. Berry, R. Wang, J.A. Spencer, C.T. Johnston, Y. Jiang, J.A. Bird, T.R. Filley. 2016. Weathering of pyrogenic organic matter induces fungal oxidative enzyme response in single culture inoculation experiments. Organic Geochemistry 92:32-41. doi:10.1016/j.orggeochem.2015.12.003

Crumsey, J.M., Y. Capowiez, M.M. Goodsitt, S. Larson, J.M. Le Moine, J.A. Bird, G.W. Kling, K.J. Nadelhoffer. 2015. Exotic earthworm community composition interacts with soil texture to affect redistribution and retention of litter-derived C and N in northern temperate forest soils. Biogeochemistry 126:379-395. doi: 10.1007/s10533-015-0164-6

Hatton, P.J., C. Castanha, M.S. Torn, J.A. Bird. 2015. Litter type control on soil C and N stabilization dynamics in a temperate forest. Global Change Biology 21:1358–1367. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12786

Throckmorton, H., J.A. Bird, N. Monte, T. Doane, M.K. Firestone, W.R. Horwath. 2015. The soil matrix increases microbial C stabilization in temperate and tropical forest soils. Biogeochemistry 122:35–45. doi: 10.1007/s10533-014-0027-6

Maestrini, B., S. Abiven, N. Singh, J.A. Bird, M.S. Torn, M.W.I. Schmidt. 2014. Carbon losses from pyrolysed and original wood in a forest soil under natural and increased N deposition. Biogeosciences 11: 5199–5213. doi: 10.5194/bg-11-5199-2014

Santos, F., M.P. Fraser, J.A. Bird. 2014. Atmospheric black carbon deposition and characterization of biomass burning tracers in a northern temperate forest. Atmospheric Environment 95:383-390. doi: 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2014.06.038

Singh, N., S. Abiven, B. Maestrini, J.A. Bird, M.S. Torn, M.W.I Schmidt. 2014. Transformation and stabilization of pyrogenic organic matter in a temperate forest field experiment. Global Change Biology 20:1629–1642. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12459M

Throckmorton, H., J.A. Bird, L. Dane, M.K. Firestone, W.R. Horwath. 2012. The source of microbial C has little impact on soil organic matter stabilization in forest ecosystems. Ecology Letters 15: 1257–1265 doi: 10.1111/j1461-0248. 2012.01848.x

Chatterjee, S., F. Santos, S. Abiven, B. Itin, R. Stark, J.A. Bird. 2012. Elucidating the chemical structure of pyrogenic organic matter by combining magnetic resonance, mid-infrared spectroscopy and mass spectrometry. Organic Geochemistry 51:35–44. doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2012.07.006

Santos, F., M.S. Torn., J.A. Bird. 2012. Biological degradation of pyrogenic organic matter in temperate forest soils. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 51:115-124. doi: 10.1016/j.soilbio.2012.04.005

Yarnes, C., F. Santos, N. Singh, S. Abiven, M.W.I. Schmidt, J.A. Bird. 2011. Stable isotopic analysis of pyrogenic organic matter in soils by LC-IRMS of benzene polycarboxylic acids. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 25:3723–3731. doi: 10.1002/rcm.5272

Mambelli, S., J.A. Bird, G. Gleixner, T.E. Dawson, M.S. Torn. 2011. Relative contribution of needle and fine root pine litter to the molecular composition of soil organic matter after in situ degradation. Organic Geochemistry 42:1099-1108. doi: 10.1016/j.orggeochem.2011.06.008

Bird, J.A., D. Herman, M.K. Firestone. 2011. Rhizosphere priming of soil organic matter by bacterial groups in a grassland soil. Soil Biology & Biochemistry Special Section 43:718-725. doi: 10.1016/jsoilbio.2010.08.010

Gärdenäs, A.I. G.I. Ågren, J.A. Bird, M. Clarholm, S. Hallin, P. Ineson, T. Kätterer, H. Knicker, S.I. Nilsson, T. Näsholm, S. Ogle, K. Paustian, T. Persson, J. Stendahl. 2011. Knowledge gaps in soil C and N interactions – From molecular to global scale. Soil Biology & Biochemistry Special Section 43:702-717. doi: 10.1016/jsoilbio.2010.04.006

Fan, T.W.-M., J.A. Bird, E L. Brodie, A.N. Lane. 2009. 13C-Isotopomer-based metabolomics of microbial groups isolated from two forest soils. Metabolomics 5 :108–122. doi: 10.1007/s11306-0080150-2

Bird, J.A., M. Kleber, M.S. Torn. 2008. 13C and 15N stabilization dynamics in soil organic matter fractions during needle and fine root decomposition. Organic Geochemistry 39:465–477.

Bird, J.A. and M.S. Torn. 2006. Fine roots versus needles: A comparison of 13C and 15N dynamics in a ponderosa pine forest soil. Biogeochemistry 79:361-382.

Bird, J.A., C. van Kessel, W.R. Horwath. 2003. Stabilization of 13C-carbon and immobilization of 15N-nitrogen from rice straw in humic fractions. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 67:806-815.

Torn, M.S., S. Davis, J.A. Bird, M.R. Shaw, M. Conrad. 2003. Automated analyses of 13C/12C ratios in CO2 and dissolved inorganic carbon for ecological and environmental applications. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 17:2575-2582.

Bird, J.A., C. van Kessel, W.R. Horwath. 2002. Nitrogen dynamics in humic fractions under alternative straw management in temperate rice. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 66:478-488.

Bird, J.A., G.S. Pettygrove, J.M. Eadie. 2000. The impact of waterfowl foraging on the decomposition of rice straw: mutual benefits for rice growers and waterfowl. J. Appl. Ecol. 37:728-741.

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