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Dr. Amy  Treonis
Dr. Amy Treonis
Associate Professor of Biology

Soil ecology is the study of the organisms that live below ground, interacting with plants, each other, and their environment. Bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes are all microscopic soil organisms that play important roles in decomposition and nutrient cycling. These organisms also are incredibly diverse, and a handful of soil can contain hundreds of different species. The use of molecular, microscopic, and stable isotope techniques allows soil ecologists to study the unseen life in the soil and understand the world beneath our feet. Dr. Treonis currently is studying nematode and microbial ecology in arid ecosystems (the Mojave Desert) and at regional field sites (granite rock outcrops of the Piedmont region).


Treonis AM, Sutton KA, Unangst SK, Wren JE, Dragan ES, McQueen JP.  2019. Soil organic matter determines the distribution and abundance of nematodes on alluvial fans in Death Valley, CA. Ecosphere. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.2659.

Treonis AM, Unangst SK, Kepler RM, Buyer JS, Cavigelli MA, Mirsky SB, Maul JE. 2018. Characterization of soil nematode communities in three cropping systems through morphological and DNA metabarcoding approaches.  Scientific Reports.

Treonis A, Sutton K, Kavanaugh B, Narla A, McLlarky T, Felder J, O'Leary C, Riley M, Pikus A, Thomas S. 2012. Soil nematodes and their prokaryotic prey along an elevation gradient in the Mojave Desert (Death Valley National Park, California, USA). Diversity. 4:363-374.

Landesman WJ, Treonis AM, Dighton J.  2011.  Effects of a one-year rainfall manipulation on soil nematodes, microbial communities and nitrogen mineralization.  Pedobiologia, 54:87-91.

Treonis AM, Michelle EH, CA O'Leary, EE Austin, CB Marks. 2010. Identification and localization of food source microbial nucleic acids inside soil nematodes. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 42:2005-2011.

Treonis AM, Austin EE, Buyer JS, Maul JE, Spicer L, Zasada IA. 2010. Effects of organic amendments and tillage on soil microorganisms and microfauna. Applied Soil Ecology. 46:103-110.

Austin E, Semmens K, Parsons C, Treonis AM. 2009. Granite rock outcrops: An extreme environment for soil nematodes? Journal of Nematology. 41:84-91.

Hunt HW, Treonis AM, Wall DH, RA Virginia. 2007. A mathematical model for variation in water-retention curves among sandy soils. Antarctic Science. 19: 427-436.

Treonis AM, Cook R, Grayston SJ, Dawson LA, T Mizen. 2007. Effects of the plant parasitic nematode (Heterodera trifolii) on clover roots and soil microbial communities. Biology & Fertility of Soils. 43:541-548.

Treonis AM & Wall DH. 2005. Soil nematodes and desiccation survival in the extreme arid environment of the Antarctic Dry Valleys. Integrative and Comparative Biology. 45:741-750.

VanHecke MM, Treonis AM & Kaufman JR. 2005. How does the fungal endophyte Neotyphodium coenophialum affect tall fescue (Festuca arundinacea) rhizodeposition and soil microorganisms? Plant and Soil. 275: 99-107.

Treonis AM, Grayston SJ, Murray PJ, L Dawson. 2005. Effects of root feeding, cranefly larvae on soil microorganisms and the composition of rhizosphere solutions collected from grassland plants. Applied Soil Ecology. 28:203-215.

Treonis, A.M., N. J. Ostle, A.W. Stott, R. Primrose, S.J. Grayston, and P. Ineson. 2004 Identification of metabolically-active rhizosphere microorganisms by stable isotope probing of PLFAs. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 36:533-537.


Treonis AM, Sutton K, Unangst S.  2016.  Biodiversity patterns for microscopic life in the soils of Death Valley National Park.  In: Proceedings of the 1st Death Valley Natural History Conference. Death Valley National Park, CA, Death Valley Natural History Association. pp. 293-305.

Ph.D., Colorado State University
Contact Information
A-208 Gottwald Center for the Sciences
(804) 287-6493
(804) 289-8233 (Fax)
Areas of Expertise
Soil Ecology