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Stephanie Kivlin

Stephanie Kivlin

Associate Professor

Research Interest

CURRENTLY RECRUITING GRADUATE STUDENTS Ecosystem ecology, microbial ecology, global change


2012 - Ph.D., University of California, Irvine


Microorganisms are the proximate drivers of terrestrial carbon cycling. Yet, we know relatively little about the controllers of microbial distributions, diversity, composition, or function. Our research addresses these fundamental questions of microbial ecology with an overarching goal of linking these processes to large-scale ecosystem fluxes of carbon and nutrients under current and future climates. We take a multidisciplinary genes-to-ecosystems approach, integrating microbial traits and gene expression with population demographics, community assembly, and overall ecosystem carbon storage.

Current research interests include (1) altitudinal gradients in fungal phytobiomes and resulting consequences on plant fitness and soil carbon storage, (2) the role of fungi and bacteria in above- and belowground ecosystem response to disturbance in the nearby Smoky Mountains, and (3) global patterns of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal distributions and diversity.


Visit Google Scholar for more publications.

  1. Kivlin, S.N. and C.V. Hawkes. Tree species, spatial heterogeneity, and seasonality drive soil fungal abundance, richness, and composition in Neotropical rainforests. 2016. Environmental Microbiology 18(12): 4662-4673.
  2. Kivlin, S.N. and C.V. Hawkes. Temporal and spatial variation of soil bacteria richness, composition, and function in a Neotropical rainforest. 2016. PLoS ONE 11(7): e0159131.
  3. Kivlin, S.N., G.C. Winston, M.L. Goulden, and K.K. Treseder. 2014. Environmental filtering affects soil fungal community composition more than dispersal limitation at regional scales. Fungal Ecology 12: 14-25.
  4. Kivlin, S.N., S.M. Emery, and J.A. Rudgers. 2013. Fungal symbionts alter plant responses to global change. American Journal of Botany 100: 1445-1457.
  5. Kivlin, S.N., C.V. Hawkes, and K.K. Treseder. 2011. Global diversity and distribution of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43: 2294-2303.
Stephanie Kivlin

Contact Information

  • 576 Dabney
  • Mailing Address: 569 Dabney Hall, 1416 Circle Dr, Knoxville, TN 37996
  • Phone: 865-974-3231
  • Fax: 865-974-3067
  • E-mail:
  • Lab Website