Colleen M Iversen

Colleen Iversen

Colleen M Iversen

Senior Staff Scientist


I am an ecosystem ecologist who uses a variety of field and laboratory techniques to understand and predict how ecosystems are shaped by climatic change. Specifically, I work at the root-soil interface to investigate how atmospheric and climatic change alters belowground carbon and nutrient cycling. Please visit my website for more information:


Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America ( (2017): 'Elected for her leadership and creativity in linking experimentation and modeling to advance ecological understanding of the influence of fine plant roots on the fate of vast pools of carbon and nutrients held in the soils of diverse biomes.'

Stanley I. Auerbach Early-Career Award for Excellence in Environmental Sciences. Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2012).

Finalist in New Phytologist Tansley Medal competition (2010) for mini-review: Iversen CM (2010), New Phytologist 186: 346-357. Highlighted in Woodward & Hetherington ‘The New Phytologist Tansley medal’, New Phytologist 186: 263-264.

Distinguished Achievement Award for Post-Graduate Research. Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (2009).


Fine-Root Ecology Database (FRED;

Spruce and Peatland Responses Under Climatic and Environmental change (SPRUCE;

Next Generation Ecosystem Experiments - Arctic (NGEE Arctic;


For a full list of publications, please visit my website at: or visit my Google Scholar profile.

Recent publications:


Freschet GT, Valverde-Barrantes OJ, Tucker CM, Craine JM, McCormack ML, Violle C, Fort F, Blackwood CB, Urban-Mead KR, Iversen CM, Bonis A, Comas LH, Cornelissen JHC, Dong M, Guo D, Hobbie SE, Holdaway RJ, Kembel SW, Makita N, Onipchenko VG, Picon-Cochard C, Reich PB, de la Riva EG, Smith SW, Soudzilovskaia NA, Tjoelker MG, Wardle DA, Roumet C. 2017. Climate, soil and plant functional types as drivers of global fine-root trait variation. Journal of Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2745.12769.

Griffiths NA, Hanson PJ, Ricciuto DM, Iversen CM, Jensen AM, Malhotra A, McFarlane KJ, Norby RJ, Sargsyan K, Sebestyen SD, Shi X, Walker AP, Ward EJ, Warren JM, Weston DJ. 2017. Temporal and spatial variation in peatland carbon cycling and implications for interpreting responses of an ecosystem-scale warming experiment. Soil Science Society of America Journal, accepted.
Hobbie EA, Chen J, Hanson PJ, Iversen CM, McFarlane KJ, Thorp NR, Hofmockel KS. 2017. Long-term carbon and nitrogen dynamics at SPRUCE revealed through stable isotopes in peat profiles. Biogeosciences 14: 2481.

Iversen CM, McCormack ML, Powell AS, Blackwood CB, Freschet GT, Kattge J, Roumet C, Stover DB, Soudzilovskaia NA, Valverde-Barrantes OJ, van Bodegom PM, Violle C. 2017. Viewpoints: A global Fine-Root Ecology Database to address belowground challenges in plant ecology. New Phytologist 215: 15-26.

Iversen CM, Childs J, Norby RJ, Ontl TA, Kolka RK, Brice DJ, McFarlane KJ, Hanson PJ. 2017. Fine-root growth in a forested bog is seasonally dynamic, but shallowly distributed in nutrient-poor peat. Plant and Soil, DOI: 10.1007/s11104-017-3231-z.

McCormack ML, Guo D, Iversen CM, Chen W, Eissenstat DM, Fernandez CW, Li L, Ma C, Ma Z, Poorter H, Reich PB, Zadworny M, Zanne A. 2017. Viewpoints: Building a better foundation: Improving root-trait measurements to understand and model plant and ecosystem processes. New Phytologist 215: 27-37.

​Norby RJ, Iversen CM. 2017. Introduction to a Virtual Issue on root traits. New Phytologist 215: 5-8.

Song X, Hoffman FM, Iversen CM, Yin Y, Kumar J, Ma C, Xu X. 2017. Significant inconsistency of vegetation carbon density in CMIP5 Earth System Models against observational data. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences, accepted.

Xu Y, Wang D, Iversen CM, Walker A, Warren J. 2017. Building a virtual ecosystem dynamic model for root research. Environmental Modelling & Software 89: 97-105.


Koven C, Kueppers L, Iversen CM, Reich P, Thornton PE. 2016. Expanding the use of plant trait observations and ecological theory in Earth system models: DOE Workshop Report. A summary report from the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science (TES) and Earth System Modeling (ESM) Workshop on Trait Methods for Representing Ecosystem Change; Rockville, MD, 18-19 November 2015. Report Date: May 31, 2016.

Kueppers LM, Iversen CM, Koven CD. 2016. Expanding the use of plant trait observations in Earth system models. Eos 97 (DOI:10.1029/2016EO049947).

Kumar J, Collier N, Bisht G, Mills RT, Thornton PE, Iversen CM, Romanovsky V. 2016. Modeling the spatio-temporal variability in subsurface thermal regimes across a low-relief polygonal tundra landscape. The Cryosphere 10: 2241-2274.

Langford Z, Kumar J, Hoffman FM, Norby RJ, Wullschleger SD, Sloan VL, Iversen CM. 2016. Mapping Arctic plant functional type distributions in the Barrow Environmental Observatory using WorldView-2 and LiDAR datasets. Remote Sensing 8: 733.

Mao J, Ricciuto DM, Thornton PE, Warren JM, King AW, Shi X, Iversen CM, Norby RJ. 2016. Evaluating the Community Land Model in a pine stand with 13CO2 labeling and shading manipulations. Biogeosciences 13: 641-657.

McCormack ML, Iversen CM, Eissenstat DM. 2016. Moving forward with fine-root definitions and research. New Phytologist 212: 313.

Schädel C, Bader MKF, Schuur EAG,  Bracho R, Capek P, De-Baets S, Diakova K, Ernakovich J, Estop-Aragones C, Graham DE, Hartley IP, Iversen CM, Kane E, Knoblauch C, Lupascu M, Natali S, Norby RJ, O’Donnell JA, Roy Chowdhury T, Šantrůčková H, Shaver G, Sloan VL, Treat CC, Turetsky MR, Waldrop M, Wickland KP. 2016. Potential carbon emissions dominated by carbon dioxide from thawed permafrost soils. Nature Climate Change 6: 950-953.

Walker DA, Breen AL, Druckenmiller LA, Wirth LW, Fisher W, Raynolds MK, Šibík J, Walker MD, Hennekens S, Boggs K, Boucher T, Buchhorn M, Bültmann H, Cooper DJ, Daniëls FJA, Davidson SJ, Ebersole JJ, Elmendorf SC, Epstein HE, Gould WA, Hollister RD, Iversen CM, Jorgenson MT, Kade A, Lee MT, MacKenzie WH, Peet RK, Peirce JL, Schickhoff U, Sloan VL, Talbot SS, Tweedie CE, Villarreal S, Webber PJ, Zona D. 2016. The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AVA-AK). Phytocoenologia 46: 221-229.

Zhu Q, Iversen CM, Riley WJ, Slette IJ, Vander Stel HM. 2016. Root traits explain observed tundra vegetation nitrogen uptake patterns: Implications for trait-based land models. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 121: 3101-3112.