Dr. Tom DeLuca
Professor and Director, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington

DeLucaPh.D., Soil Microbiology and Biochemistry, Iowa State University, 1993
M.S., Soils, Montana State University, 1987
B.S., Soil Science, Natural Science, University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1984

Thomas H. DeLuca is professor and director of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS) at the University of Washington (UW). A forest soil scientist and ecosystem ecologist, Dr. DeLuca conducts research and directs a School with ~40 faculty members, 160 graduate students, and more than 400 undergraduate students. SEFS operates several facilities on the UW campus, along with four outlying research and education centers.  Prior to his post at SEFS, Dr. DeLuca served as NERC-University Joint Chair in Environmental Sciences in the School of Environment, Natural Resources and Geography at Bangor University, UK (2009 – 2012). He also served as a Senior Forest Ecologist with the Wilderness Society (2006 – 2009) and as a Professor of Forest Soils at the University of Montana in the College of Forestry and Conservation (1994 – 2006). During the past 20 years, Dr. DeLuca has conducted research in a variety of topics across temperate, boreal, maritime and Arctic settings. Primary research interests include the influence of disturbance on N and C cycling in forest, prairie and tundra ecosystems, fire ecology of temperate and boreal forests, biological N2 fixation in forest ecosystems, sustainable forest management and forest restoration. Dr. DeLuca has authored more than 90 refereed research papers, including papers in Science and Nature.   Dr. DeLuca holds a Ph.D. in soil microbiology and biochemistry from Iowa State University (May 1993), an M.S. from Montana State University in soils; and a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Soil Science.


Melissa Pingree
Ph.D. Student, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington

MP-ekwhaPhD Candidate, Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington
M.S., Environmental Science, Western Washington University, 2011
B.S., Resource Conservation, University of Montana,  2006

Melissa Pingree joined the graduate student cohort of the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences in January of 2013. Her research investigates the role of wildfire and addition of charcoal in the biogeochemistry of carbon and nitrogen in Pacific Northwest forest soils. She is particularly interested in the above- and below-ground function of fire disturbances, charcoal production, and charcoal functional characterization in forest soils. She hopes to expand her research with the use of qPCR and ddPCR to answer molecular-level genetics questions pertaining to the function of charcoal in forest soil biotic processes. When she’s not in the lab or typing away, she can be spotted hiking, fishing, or knitting far from the city.




Si Gao
Ph.D. Student, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington


B.S., Environmental Science, China Agricultural University, 2014
M.S., Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington, 2016

In my current doctoral research, we are conducting on-farm biochar study across ten organic farms in San Juan County, WA. The overarching goal of this research is to evaluate: 1) The effectiveness of on-farm produced biochar to increase soil nutrient availability; 2) Nutrient uptake by crop plants after biochar application; and 3) The role of biochar in soil nutrient retention in San Juan County, WA. By producing on-farm biochar from logging residues that would otherwise be pile burned with no benefit, we recapture value of the residues and potentially improve farm soil productivity. This project will leverage the existing on-farm biomass resources to create markets to drive sustainable agriculture practices.





Amanda Bidwell
M.S. Student & Lab Manager, School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington

B.S., Environmental Science, Policy & Management, University of Minnesota, 2011

Starting fall 2015, Amanda Bidwell will be evaluating epiphyte N2 fixation and metal deposition in Acer macrophyllum canopies across an urban-to-wildland gradient in Western Washington. This research will focuses on 3 major questions: 1) How urbanization and associated transportation pollution influences cyanobacterial presence and N2 fixation in canopy and forest floor mosses; 2) How does urbanization impact epiphyte community composition in A. macrophyllum canopies; and 3) Does canopy metal deposition and accumulation change across the urban-to-wildland gradient?





Previous Folks:

Dr. María Arróniz-Crespo, Post- Doctoral Researcher

Dustin Conrad-Wolf, Undergraduate Independent Study

Ryan Contreras, Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance Intern

Daylen Iaasc, Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance Intern

Raelani Kessler, Undergraduate Independent Study

Florence Miller, Research Assistant

Teddy McFall, Undergraduate Independent Study

Andrew Wells, Research Assistant

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