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Johannes Rousk

Associate Professor

In my laboratory we study the ecology of microorganisms in natural and engineered soil systems. We are interested in the factors that influence the spatial and temporal variability in microbial communities and how the microorganisms, in turn, control biogeochemistry in soil. We are interested in assessing not only the abundance of microorganisms but rather the actively contributing ones in the opaque soil system, and we have a particular interest in comparing the roles of fungi and bacteria in their contribution to biogeochemical cycles.

Recently we have started to use the dependence of microbial growth on environmental factors (e.g. moisture, temperature, pH, salinity, etc) to determine the trait distributions of whole microbial communities in soil. This development has created a causal link between community structure and function, where we can measure the functional consequences of the alignment (or misalignment) of microbial community trait distributions to their environment. The link between microbial communities and their functional contribution has also led to several lines of inquiry where we investigate how microbial resource use-efficiencies (growth efficiencies, C-use efficiencies, N-use efficiencies) depend on environmental factors and perturbations.

Current research themes include soil salinisation (PhD student Kristin Rath, collaborator Prof. Noah Fierer, Univ Colorado), fungal and bacterial decomposition of litter in both aquatic and soil systems (PhD student Margarida Soares), soil pH (PhD student Carla Cruz Paredes, Univ. Copenhagen, PhD student Jian Li), drought and drying-rewetting cycles in soil (PhD student Ainara Leizeaga, postdoc Dr. Lettice Hicks, collaborator Prof. Christine Hawkes, Univ Texascollaborator Dr. Annelein Meisner, collaborator Prof. Richard Bardgett, Univ Manchester), soil warming in temperate (PhD student Johanna Birgander, collaborator Prof. Serita Frey) and arctic (postdoc Dr. Lettice Hickscollaborator Prof. Anders Michelsen) ecosystems, and effects of insect herbivory on the soil N cycle in arctic ecosystems (PhD student Jeppe Ågård Kristensen, collaborator Dr. Dan Metcalfe). Recently, we have also started to integrate insights into the environmental controls of microbial processes into biogeochemical models at Ecosystem and global scales (collaborators Dr. David Wårlind, Dr. Paul Miller, and PhD student Adrian Gustafsson).

Laboratory twitter feed:


I am looking for a postdoc to work on a project dedicated to incorporating microbial ecology insights into biogeochemical models. Very exciting! (last day of application Sep 14, 2017)


subarctic wave
litter bag
litter addition
group summer
group winter


Students in field

tubes in lab


Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Page Manager:
JR photo
E-mail: johannes [dot] rousk [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Senior lecturer


+46 46 222 37 45