Christopher Blackwood

Christopher Blackwood

Contact Information
Personal Website:


Areas of Expertise

My broad areas of expertise include ecology, microbiology, and soil science.  My research focuses on the critical roles of soil-plant-microbe interactions in shaping plant communities, ecosystem processes, and soil carbon dynamics.

For further information, see the Blackwood lab website.

Courses Taught

  • General Microbiology
  • Soil Biology
  • Community and Ecosystem Ecology
  • Population and Community Ecology

Selected publications

Complete list available on my Google Scholar page.

Droz, A., R.R. Coffman, C.B. Blackwood. 2021. Plant diversity on green roofs in the wild: Testing practitioner and ecological predictions in three midwestern (USA) cities. Urban Forestry and Urban Greening 60:127079.

Ruggles, TA, JA Gerrath, CT Ruhm, AJ Jefferson, CA Davis, CB Blackwood. 2021. Surface mines show little progress towards native species forest restoration following 35 years of passive management after initial reclamation. Land Degradation and Development 32:2351-2359.

Eagar, A.C., C.R. Cosgrove, M.W. Kershner, C.B. Blackwood. 2020. Dominant community mycorrhizal types influence local spatial structure between adult and juvenile temperate forest tree communities. Functional Ecology 34:2571-2583.

Valverde-Barrantes, O.J., H. Maherali, C. Baraloto, C.B. Blackwood. 2020. Independent evolutionary changes in fine-root traits among main clades during the diversification of seed plants. New Phytologist 228:541-553.

Mason, L.M., A. Eagar, P. Patel, C.B. Blackwood, J.L. DeForest. 2020. Potential microbial bioindicators of phosphorus mining in a temperate deciduous forest. Journal of Applied Microbiology 130:109-122.

Ayayee, P.A., J. Taura, A.A. Roberto, C.B. Blackwood, L.G. Leff. 2020. Seasonal and spatial patterns of denitrification rates and methane emissions from vernal pools in a temperate northeastern Ohio forest. Wetlands 40:721-731.

Minerovic, A.J., O.J. Valverde-Barrantes, C.B. Blackwood. 2018. Importance of physical and microbial mechanisms of decomposition vary by root order in two temperate tree species with differing chemical and morphological traits. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 124:142-149.

Valverde-Barrantes, O.J., K.A. Smemo, L.M. Feinstein, M.W. Kershner, C.B. Blackwood. 2018. Patterns in spatial distribution and root trait syndromes for ecto and arbuscular mycorrhizal temperate trees in a mixed broadleaf forest. Oecologia 186:731–741.

Valverde-Barrantes, OJ, GT Freschet, C Roumet, C.B. Blackwood. 2017. A worldview of root traits: the influence of ancestry, growth form, climate and mycorrhizal association on the functional trait variation of fine root tissues in seed plants. New Phytologist 215: 1562–1573.

Horton, D.J., M.W. Kershner, C.B. Blackwood. 2017. Suitability of PCR primers for characterizing invertebrate communities from soil and leaf litter targeting metazoan 18S ribosomal or cytochrome oxidase I (COI) genes. European Journal of Soil Biology 80:43-48.

Valverde-Barrantes, O.J., A.L. Horning, K.A. Smemo, C.B. Blackwood. 2016. Phylogenetically structured traits in root systems influence arbuscular mycorrhizal colonization in woody angiosperms. Plant and Soil 404:1-12.

Gacura, M.D., D.D. Sprockett, B. Heidenreich, C.B. Blackwood. 2016. Comparison of pectin-degrading fungal communities in temperate forests using glycosyl hydrolase family 28 pectinase primers targeting Ascomycete fungi. Journal of Microbiological Methods 123:108-113.

Abiala, M.A., A.C. Odebode, S.F. Hsu, C.B. Blackwood. 2015. Phytobeneficial properties of bacteria isolated from the rhizosphere of maize in southwestern Nigerian soils. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 81:4736-4743. 

Valverde-Barrantes, O.J., K.A. Smemo, C.B. Blackwood. 2015. Fine root morphology is phylogenetically structured but nitrogen is related to the plant economics spectrum in temperate trees. Functional Ecology 29:796-807. 

Valverde-Barrantes, O.J., K.A. Smemo, L.M. Feinstein, M.W. Kershner, C.B. Blackwood. 2015. Aggregated and complementary: symmetric proliferation, overyielding, and mass effects explain fine root biomass in soil patches in a diverse temperate deciduous forest landscape. New Phytologist 205:731-742. 

Mahaney, W.M., K.L. Gross, C.B. Blackwood, K.A. Smemo.  2015. Impacts of prairie grass re-establishment on invasibility and soil properties: implications for restoration. Applied Vegetation Science 18:99-109.


Ph.D, Michigan State University


Ecology, Soil Science, Microbiology, Plant Ecology, Forest restoration, Urban Ecology, Carbon Sequestration, Community Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, Biogeochemistry, Fungi

Research Institutes and Initiatives

Environmental Science and Design Research Initiative