Purdue University Mark

Welcome to the FILLEY Lab

Research Highlights
- Controls on soil carbon accumulation during woody plant encroachment

- Old and stable soil organic matter is not necessarily chemically recalcitrant

- Invasive earthworms and forest stage interact to control particulate organic matter chemistry
  • Soil Sampling Click here to learn more about the US-China EcoPartnership for Environmental Sustainability
  • Soil Sampling Tim Filley and undergraduates Charlie Thayer and Charlie Goodwin sampling soil and earthworms from Aspen FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) site to study coupled effects of elevated CO2 and invasive earthworm activity on terrestrial biogeochemistry.
  • Soil Sampling Forest soil core from Aspen FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) site showing deposition of surface-derived organic matter in C-rich earthworm fecal matter at 30 cm depth.
  • Soil Sampling Tim Filley sampling fecal matter from earthworms extracted from Aspen FACE (Free Air CO2 Enrichment) site to study coupled effects of elevated CO2 and invasive earthworm activity on terrestrial biogeochemistry.
  • Soil Sampling Cores extracted from a gradient in invasive earthworm activity from a forest in Red Lake Nation Ojibwa land. Tribal college students are studying forest ecology and the impact of invasive species on native lands in Minnesota.
  • Soil Sampling Students from Leech Lake and Red Lake Tribal college and Purdue Graduate student Sara Top studying forest ecology and the impact of invasive species on native lands. Research sites along a gradient in invasive earthworm activity from a forest in Red Lake Nation Ojibwa land.
  • Soil Sampling Sampling in mesquite parklands at the Texas A&M LaCopita research station. Leguminous Mesquite trees have replaced large portions of grasslands causing dramatic shifts in C and N biogeochemical processes.

Terrestrial Stable Isotope Biogeochemistry


Our group studies the fundamental processes controlling carbon and nitrogen cycling in soil, litter, and streams within natural and managed ecosystems. A primary goal of this work is to develop a stronger scientific basis for modeling soil organic matter dynamics, ecosystem processes, and the global carbon cycle with an emphasis on how perturbations to ecosystems (e.g., woody plant encroachment, increases in atmospheric CO2, invasive species, storm events) interact with soil properties to sequester or release carbon and nitrogen. We use field-based experiments, such as the Free Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) sites or maintained chronosequences of forest encroachment, laboratory mesocosm experiments, such as earthworm feeding studies, and a variety of analytical approaches including molecular chemistry, microbial activity assays, and stable isotope techniques.

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