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Staff information


Kirsten Hofmockel

Environmental Dynamics & Simulations
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
PO Box 999
MSIN: K8-98
Richland, WA 99352


Dr. Hofmockel is interested how plant-microbe-soil interactions influence plant productivity, soil biogeochemistry and the land-atmosphere exchange of carbon. This research connects microbial processes to ecosystem functions to yield new insights into microbial ecology and elemental cycling.

Her research focuses on finding the answers to these three questions:

·What are the mechanisms structuring soil microbial communities?

·How do functional groups of microorganisms respond to changing environmental conditions (e.g. elevated atmospheric CO2, warming, altered precipitation, agricultural management)?

·How does variation in specific microbial communities relate to decomposition and coupled C-N cycling?

Research Interests

  • Plant-microbe-soil interactions influence plant productivity, soil biogeochemistry and the land-atmosphere exchange of carbon.

Education and Credentials

  • Ph.D., Ecology, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • Masters of Environmental Management, Duke University, Nicholas School of the Environment
  • B.S. with honors, Environmental Resource Management, Pennsylvania State University

Affiliations and Professional Service

  • 2104-present International Society of Microbial Ecology (ISME)
  • 2005-present American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
  • 2004-present American Geophysical Union (AGU)
  • 2003-present Ecological Society of America (ESA)

Awards and Recognitions

  • 2016 - Department of Energy Early Career Research Award
  • 2014 - Iowa State University Award for Early Achievement in Research
  • 2011 - National Academies Teaching Educational Fellow in the Life Sciences awarded by the National Academy of Sciences, Division of Earth and Life Studies, and the National Research Council.

PNNL Publications


  • Jansson JK, and KS Hofmockel. 2018. "The Soil Microbiome - From Metagenomics to Metaphenomics." Current Opinion in Microbiology 43(2018):162-168.  doi:10.1016/j.mib.2018.01.013
  • Davis MP, TA Groh, TB Parkin, R Williams, TM Isenhart, and KS Hofmockel. 2018. "Portable Automation of Static Chamber Sample Collection for Quantifying Soil Gas Flux." Journal of Environmental Quality 47(2):270-275.  doi:10.2134/jeq2017.10.0387


  • Choi J, F Yang, R Stepanauskas, E Cardenas, A Garoutte, R Williams, J Flater, JM Tiedje, KS Hofmockel, B Gelder, and A Howe. 2017. "Strategies to improve reference databases for soil microbiomes." The ISME Journal 11(4):829-834.  doi:10.1038/ismej.2016.168
  • Hobbie EA, J Chen, PJ Hanson, C Iversen, K McFarlane, NR Thorp, and KS Hofmockel. 2017. "Long-term carbon and nitrogen dynamics at SPRUCE revealed through stable isotopes in peat profiles." Biogeosciences 14:2481-2494.  doi:10.5194/bg-14-2481-2017
  • Kaleita AL, LR Schott, SK Hargreaves, and KS Hofmockel. 2017. "Differences in soil biological activity by terrain types at the sub-field scale in central Iowa US." PLoS One 12(7):Article No. e0180596.  doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0180596
  • King AE, and KS Hofmockel. 2017. "Diversified cropping systems support greater microbial cycling and retention of carbon and nitrogen." Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 240:66-76.  doi:10.1016/j.agee.2017.01.040

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