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:


Inaugural cohort, New Voices in Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine"The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine are launching the 'New Voices in Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine' initiative to identify outstanding early-career science, engineering, and medicine (SEM) leaders. They will engage in communicating the evidence base for addressing national and global challenges to provide new perspectives on issues of importance to the community represented by the National Academies, and to help identify ways to expand the diversity of expertise that is brought to all of the Academies' convening and advisory activities."

Early Career Fellow of the Ecological Society of America. "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:


Bjorkman AD, Myers-Smith IH, Sarah C. Elmendorf, Normand S, Thomas HJD, Alatalo JM, Alexander H, Anadon-Rosell A, Angers-Blondin S, Bai Y, Baruah G, te Beest M, Berner L, Björk RG, Blok D, Bruelheide H, Buchwal A, Buras A, Carbognani M, Christie K, Collier LS, Cooper EJ, Cornelissen JHC, Dickinson KJM, Dullinger S, Elberling B, Eskelinen A, Forbes BC, Frei ER, Iturrate Garcia M, Good MK, Grau O, Green P, Greve M, Grogan P, Haider S, Hájek T, Hallinger M, Happonen K, Harper KA, Heijmans MMPD, Henry GHR, Hermanutz L, Hewitt RE, Hollister RD, Hudson J, Hülber K, Iversen CM, Jaroszynska F, Jiménez-Alfaro B, Johnstone J, Halfdan Jorgensen R, Kaarlejärvi E, Klady R, Klimešová J, Korsten A, Kuleza S, Kulonen A, Lamarque LJ, Lantz T, Lavalle A, Lembrechts JJ, Levesque E, Little CJ, Luoto M, Macek P, Mack MC, Mathakutha R, Michelsen A, Milbau A, Molau U, Morgan JW, Alfons Mörsdorf M, Nabe-Nielsen J, Schøler Nielsen S, Ninot JM, Oberbauer S, Olofsson J, Onipchenko VG, Petraglia A, Pickering C, Prevéy JS, Rixen C, Rumpf SB, Schaepman-Strub G, Semenchuk P, Shetti R, Soudzilovskaia NA, Spasojevic MJ, Speed JDM, Street L, Suding K, Tape KD, Tomaselli M, Trant A, Treier UA, Tremblay J-P, Tremblay M, Venn S, Virkkala A-M, Vowles T, Weijers S, Wilmking M, Wipf S, Zamin T. 2018. Tundra Trait Team: A database of plant traits spanning the tundra biome. Global Ecology and Biogeography, accepted

Bjorkman AD, Myers-Smith I, Elmendorf S, Normand S, Rüger N, Beck PSA, Blach-Overgaard A, Blok D, Cornelissen JHC, Forbes BC, Georges D, Goetz S, Guay K, Henry GHR, HilleRisLambers J, Hollister R, Karger DN, Kattge J, Prevéy JS, Rixen C, Schaepman-Strub G, Thomas H, Vellend M, Wilmking M, Wipf S, Carbognani M, Hermanutz L, Levesque E, Molau U, Petraglia A, Soudzilovskaia NA, Spasojevic M, Tomaselli M, Vowles T, Alatalo J, Alexander H, Anadon-Rosell A, Angers-Blondin S, Te  Beest M, Berner L, Björk RG, Buchwal A, Buras A, Christie K, Collier LS, Cooper EJ, Dullinger S, Elberling B, Eskelinen A, Frei ER, Iturrate  Garcia M, Grau O, Grogan P, Hallinger M, Harper K, Heijmans M, Hudson J, Hülber K, Iversen CM, Jaroszynska F, Johnstone J, Jorgensen RH, Kaarlejärvi E, Klady R, Kuleza S, Kulonen A, Lamarque LJ, Lantz T, Lavalle A, Little CJ, Speed JDM, Michelsen A, Milbau A, Nabe-Nielsen J, Schøler  Nielsen S, Ninot JM, Oberbauer S, Olofsson J, Onipchenko VG, Rumpf SB, Semenchuk P, Shetti R, Street L, Suding K, Tape K, Trant A, Treier U, Tremblay J-P, Tremblay M, Venn S, Weijers S, Zamin T, Boulanger-Lapointe N, Gould WA, Hik D, Hofgaard A, Jonsdottir IS, Jorgenson J, Klein J, Magnusson B, Tweedie C, Wookey PA, Bahn M, Blonder B, van  Bodegom P, Bond-Lamberty B, Campetella G, Cerabolini BEL, Chapin  III FS, Cornwell W, Craine J, Dainese M, de  Vries FT, Diaz S, Enquist BJ, Green W, Manning P, Milla R, Niinemets Ü, Onoda Y, Ordonez J, Ozinga WA, Penuelas J, Poorter H, Poschlod P, Reich P, Sandel B, Schamp B, Sheremetev S, Weiher E. 2018. Change in plant functional traits across a warming tundra biome. Nature, accepted

Iversen CM, Childs J, Norby RJ, Ontl TA, Kolka RK, Brice DJ, McFarlane KJ, Hanson PJ. 2018. Fine-root growth in a forested bog is seasonally dynamic, but shallowly distributed in nutrient-poor peat. Plant and Soil 424: 123-143. 

McCormack ML, Powell AS, Iversen CM. 2018. Better plant data at the root of ecosystem models. Eos 99. 

McFarlane KJ, Hanson PJ, Iversen CM, Phillips JR, Brice DJ. 2018. Local spatial heterogeneity of Holocene carbon accumulation throughout the peat profile of an ombrotrophic northern Minnesota bog. Radiocarbon 60: 941-962. 

Norby RJ, Sloan VL, Iversen CM, Childs J. 2018. Controls on fine-scale spatial and temporal variability of plant available inorganic nitrogen in a polygonal tundra landscape. Ecosystems, in press. 


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.

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.