Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science

Lucas Nave

Lucas Nave

Title: Coordinator, International Soil Carbon Network, Research Scientist
Unit: Northern Institute of Applied Climate Science
Address: University of Michigan Biological Station                                        
9133 Biological Rd.
Pellston, MI 49769
Phone: (231) 539-8742
E-mail: Luke Nave


  • Ph.D. in Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, Ohio State University, 2007.
  • B.A. in Biology, Wittenberg University, 2002.

Civic & Professional Affiliations

  • Research Fellow: University of Michigan BiologicalStation
  • Adjunct Professor: North Central Michigan College
  • Member: American Geophysical Union, Ecological Societyof America, National Soil Carbon Network, Soil Science Society of America

Current Research

My work with the National Soil Carbon Network involves communicating with network participants, organizing workshops, and developing databases. Through these activities, I facilitate Network goals involving collaboration and research synthesis, prediction of soil carbon change, and the identification of future research needs.
My scientific research primarily focuses on forest carbon and nitrogen cycling. Much of my work on carbon cycling involves big-picture statistical analyses of previously conducted research to understand how forest management affects soil carbon storage. In the realm of nitrogen cycling, I study how nitrogen availability changes following disturbance, during forest succession, and how these changes affect the outcome of competition between the trees that will dominate future forests of the Great Lakes region.
I am currently involved in the following collaborative research:

  • The effects of forest management on forest soil carbon storage
  • Nitrogen cycling and mycorrhizal relationships in successional Great Lakes aspen forest
  • Primary inputs and flow paths of belowground carbon in eastern oak forests (The Enriched Background Isotope Study).
  • Detritus Input and Removal Treatments (The UMBS-DIRT Experiment)
  • Carbon-nitrogen-water relations of the hemiparasitic plant Melampyrum lineare

Why This is Important

Soil carbon is a fundamental component of forest productivity and structure, strongly influencing soil fertility, resistance to erosion and compaction, and water storage and availability. Soil carbon also plays a large role in global fluxes of carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas. Globally, there is at least twice as much carbon in the soil as in the atmosphere, and two thirds of forest carbon is in the soil. Understanding the forms and fate of forest soil carbon can help us predict, mitigate, and adapt to the effects of disturbance at wide spatial and temporal scales. Studying the forest nitrogen cycle improves our ability to understand how nitrogen availability constrains forest growth, affects water quality, and impacts soil processes that store and release carbon. Nitrogen availability also influences the structure and diversity of soil microbial and plant communities, which provide us with delicious edible fungi and useful wood products.

Future Research

I plan to continue working on questions related to soil carbon pools and their responses to management, disturbance, and climate change in the U.S. I also would like to close geographic data gaps in soil carbon pools of the U.S. Finally, I hope to maintain collaborative studies of nitrogen cycling, mycorrhizal relationships, and tree competition during forest succession.



Nave, L.E.; Vance, E.D.; Swanston, C.W.; Curtis, P.S. 2010. Harvest impacts on soil carbon storage in temperate forests. Forest Ecology and Management. 259: 857-866.

Nave, L.E.; Vance, E.D.; Swanston, C.W.; Curtis, P.S. 2009. Impacts of elevated N inputs on north temperate forest soil C storage, C/N, and net N-mineralization. Geoderma. 153: 231-240.

Additional Publications

Zak, Donald R.; Pellitier, Peter T.; Argiroff, WilliamA.; Castillo, Buck; James, Timothy Y.; Nave, Lucas E.; Averill, Colin; Beidler, Kaitlyn V.; Bhatnagar, Jennifer; Blesh, Jennifer; Classen, Aimée T.; Craig, Matthew; Fernandez, Christopher W.; Gundersen, Per; Johansen, Renee; Koide, Roger T.; Lilleskov, Erik A.; Lindahl, Björn D.; Nadelhoffer, Knute J.; Phillips, Richard P.; Tunlid, Anders. 2019. Exploring the role of ectomycorrhizal fungi in soil carbon dynamics. New Phytologist. 223(1): 33-39.

Hofmeister, Kathryn L.; Nave, Lucas E.; Drevnick, Paul; Veverica, Timothy; Knudstrup, Renee; Heckman, Katherine A.; Riha, Susan J.; Schneider, Rebecca L.; Walter, M. Todd. 2019. Seasonal dynamics and exports of elements from a first‐order stream to a large inland lake in Michigan. Hydrological Processes. 33(10): 1476-1491.

Nave, L.E.; Walters, B.F.; Hofmeister, K.L.; Perry, C.H.; Mishra, U.; Domke, G.M.; Swanston, C.W. 2019. The role of reforestation in carbon sequestration. New Forests. 50(1): 115-137.

Harden, Jennifer W.; Hugelius, Gustaf; Ahlström, Anders; Blankinship, Joseph C.; Bond-Lamberty, Ben; Lawrence, Corey R.; Loisel, Julie; Malhotra, Avni; Jackson, Robert B.; Ogle, Stephen; Phillips, Claire; Ryals, Rebecca; Todd-Brown, Katherine; Vargas, Rodrigo; Vergara, Sintana E.; Cotrufo, M. Francesca; Keiluweit, Marco; Heckman, Katherine A.; Crow, Susan E.; Silver, Whendee L.; DeLonge, Marcia; Nave, Lucas E. 2018. Networking our science to characterize the state, vulnerabilities, and management opportunities of soil organic matter. Global Change Biology. 24(2): e705-e718.

Nave, Lucas E; Heckman, Katherine A; Muñoz, Alexandra B; Swanston, Christopher W. 2018. Radiocarbon Suggests the Hemiparasitic Annual Melampyrum Lineare Desr. May Acquire Carbon from Stressed Hosts. Radiocarbon. 60(01): 269-281.

Nave, Lucas E.; Domke, Grant M.; Hofmeister, Kathryn L.; Mishra, Umakant; Perry, Charles H.; Walters, Brian F.; Swanston, Christopher W. 2018. Reforestation can sequester two petagrams of carbon in US topsoils in a century. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 292: 201719685-.

Nave, Lucas E.; Gough, Christopher M.; Perry, Charles H.; Hofmeister, Kathryn L.; Le Moine, James M.; Domke, Grant M.; Swanston, Christopher W.; Nadelhoffer, Knute J. 2017. Physiographic factors underlie rates of biomass production during succession in Great Lakes forest landscapes. Forest Ecology and Management. 397: 157-173.

Nave, Lucas E.; Drevnick, Paul E.; Heckman, Katherine A.; Hofmeister, Kathryn L.; Veverica, Timothy J.; Swanston, Christopher W. 2017. Soil hydrology, physical and chemical properties and the distribution of carbon and mercury in a postglacial lake-plain wetland. Geoderma. 305: 40-52.

Domke, G.M.; Perry, C.H.; Walters, B.F.; Nave, L.E.; Woodall, C.W.; Swanston, C.W. 2017. Toward inventory-based estimates of soil organic carbon in forests of the United States. Ecological Applications. 27(4): 1223-1235.

Domke, Grant M.; Perry, Charles H.; Walters, Brian F.; Woodall, Christopher W.; Nave, Lucas E.; Swanston, Christopher W. 2015. Estimating carbon in forest soils of the United States using the national forest inventory. In: Stanton, Sharon M.; Christensen, Glenn A., comps. 2015. Pushing boundaries: new directions in inventory techniques and applications: Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) symposium 2015. 2015 December 8–10; Portland, Oregon. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-GTR-931. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station. p. 361.

Nave, L.E.; Swanston, C.W.; Mishra, U.; Nadelhoffer, K.J. 2013. Afforestation effects on soil carbon storage in the United States: A synthesis. Soil Science Society of America Journal. 77(3): 1035.

Nave, Lucas E.; Vance, Eric D.; Swanston, Christopher W.; Curtis, Peter S. 2011. Fire effects on temperate forest soil C and N storage. Ecological Applications. 21(4): 1189-1201.

Nave, L.E.; Vogel, C.S.; Gough, C.M., Curtis, P.S. 2009. Contribution of atmospheric nitrogen deposition to net primary productivity in a northern hardwood forest. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 39:1108-1118.

Nave, L.E.; Curtis, P.S. In review. Uptake and partitioning of simulated atmospheric N inputs in Pinus strobus – Populus tremuloides forest mesocosms. Canadian Journal of Botany.

Nave, L.E.; Gough, C.M. Quantifying ecological change using stable isotopes: digging deep into the past to predict the future. New Phytologist. 171:3-6.

Averett, J.M.; Klips, R.A.; Nave, L.E.; Frey, S.D.; Curtis, P.S. The effects of soil carbon amendment on nitrogen availability and plant growth in an experimental tallgrass prairie restoration. Restoration Ecology. 12: 567-573.