I am interested in how carbon and nutrients cycle through terrestrial ecosystems, and how these cycles can be altered by disturbances like invasive species, planetary warming, drought, and land-use change. Much of my research is focused on soil biogeochemistry and soil ecology – specifically the role of the soil microbial community in controlling the formation and decomposition of soil organic carbon. My current projects include the role of different microbial ecophysiological traits in controlling soil carbon cycling, the effects of drought on soil microbial communities, and the ecology and importance of microbial death in soils. The overarching aim of this work is to improve our ability to model and predict the behavior of the terrestrial carbon cycle.
Awards and Honors
Soil Science Society of America – Truog Outstanding Soil Science Dissertation Award (2019)
National Science Foundation – Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant (2017)
Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies – Doctoral Dissertation Grant Improvement Grant (2016)
Ecological Society of Award (Soil Ecology Section) – Student Travel Award (2016)
Andrew W. Mellon Foundation – Yale/Sewanee Collaborative for Place-Based Studies Award (2015)
Connecticut Association for Wetland Science – Michael LeFor Doctoral Research Award (2015)
Federation for European Microbiology Societies – Conference Travel Award (2015)
Yale Institute for Biospheric Studies – Doctoral Pilot Study Award (2013, 2014)
National Science & Engineering Research Council of Canada – Post Graduate Doctoral Scholarship Award (2013–2016)
National Science & Engineering Research Council of Canada – Post Graduate Master’s Scholarship Award (2012–2013)
National Science Foundation – Graduate Research Fellowship Honorable Mention (2012, 2013)
National Science & Engineering Research Council of Canada – Undergraduate Student Research Award (2009)
National Science Foundation – Research Experience for Undergraduates (2008)
University of Guelph – Dean’s List; graduated with distinction (2004–2009)
University of Guelph – Entrance Scholarship (2004)
Sokol, N.W., Bradford, M.A. 2019. Microbial formation of stable soil carbon more efficient from belowground than aboveground input. Nature Geoscience 12: 46–53.
Sokol, N.W., Sanderman, J. Bradford, M.A. 2019. Pathways of mineral-associated soil organic matter formation: integrating the role of plant carbon source, chemistry, and point-of-entry. Global Change Biology 25: 12–24.
Sokol, N.W., Kuebbing, S.E., Karlsen-Ayala, E., Bradford, M.A. 2019. Evidence for the primacy of living root inputs, not root or shoot litter, in forming soil organic carbon. New Phytologist 221: 233–246.
Maynard, D.S., Covey, K.R., Crowther, T.W., Sokol, N.W., Morrison, E.W., Frey, S.D., van Diepen, L.T.A., Bradford, M.A. 2018. Species associations overwhelm abiotic conditions to dictate the structure and function of wood-decay fungal communities. Ecology. 99: 801–811.
Sokol, N.W., Kuebbing S.E., Bradford M.A. 2017. Impacts of an invasive plant are fundamentally altered by a co-occurring forest disturbance. Ecology 98: 2133–2144.
Oldfield, E.E. Felson, A.J., Auyeung, N., Crowther, T.W., Falxa-Raymond N., Harada, Y. Maynard, D.S., Sokol, N.W., Warren, R.J., Hallett, R.A., Bradford, M.A. 2015. Growing the urban forest: tree performance in response to biotic and abiotic land management. Restoration Ecology 23: 707–718.