Steven D. Allison

Associate Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
School of Biological Sciences

Associate Professor (Joint Appt.), Earth System Science
School of Physical Sciences

Associate Professor, Center for Environmental Biology
School of Biological Sciences

Ph.D., Stanford University, 2005, Biological Sciences

Phone: (949) 824-2341

University of California, Irvine
321 Steinhaus
Mail Code: 2525
Irvine, CA 92697

picture of Steven D. Allison

Microbial enzymes, theoretical ecology, and biogeochemistry
URL Lab Website
Early Career Fellow, Ecological Society of America, 2013-2017
Golden Apple teaching award, UCI School of Biological Sciences, 2009
Postdoctoral Research Excellence Award, UCI School of Biological Sciences, 2006
NOAA Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2005
Outstanding Student Paper Award, 2004 AGU Fall Meeting
US DOE Global Change Education Program Fellowship, 2002
NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 1999
Morris K. Udall Scholarship for Excellence in Environmental Public Policy, 1998
Appointments 2005-2007 Postdoctoral Scholar in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology/Earth System Science, University of California, Irvine
I use molecular, biochemical, and theoretical approaches to understand how microbes regulate ecosystem processes. A major focus in my research is to model and empirically test the factors that drive extracellular enzyme production by microbes. These enzymes are critical because they catalyze the break-down of complex organic matter in many environments. They are also interesting ecologically because they represent a primary foraging strategy for many taxa of bacteria and fungi. Therefore extracellular enzymes provide a unique opportunity to link microbial, evolutionary, and ecosystem processes.

Another goal of my lab is to incorporate microbial communities and processes into large-scale biogeochemical models. Predictions of ecosystem response to global change depend on an accurate representation of the microbial mechanisms that drive biogeochemical cycles. Global changes under investigation in the lab include climate warming, precipitation shifts, and nitrogen deposition.
Publications 61 peer-reviewed (P), 3 book chapters (B), 3 other (O)
#Postdoc advisee; *PhD advisee; †Undergrad advisee

P67. Baker*, N. R., and S. D. Allison. 2015. Ultraviolet photodegradation facilitates microbial decomposition of litter in a Mediterranean climate. Ecology in press.

P66. Berlemont, R., S. D. Allison, C. Weihe, Y. Lu, E. L. Brodie, J. B. H. Martiny, and A. C. Martiny. 2014. Cellulolytic potential under environmental changes in microbial communities from grassland litter. Frontiers in Microbiology 5:639.

P65. Allison, S. D. 2014. Modeling adaptation of carbon use efficiency in microbial communities. Frontiers in Microbiology 5:571.

P64. Hagerty, S. B., K. J. van Groenigen, S. D. Allison, B. A. Hungate, E. Schwartz, G. W. Koch, R. K. Kolka, and P. Dijkstra. 2014. Accelerated microbial turnover but constant growth efficiency with warming in soil. Nature Climate Change 4:903-906.

P63. Allison, S. D., S. S. Chacon†, and D. P. German#. 2014. Substrate concentration constraints on microbial decomposition. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 79:43-49.

P62. Mouginot, C., R. Kiwamura, K. Matulich, R. Berlemont, S. D. Allison, A. S. Amend, and A. C. Martiny. 2014. Elemental stoichiometry of Fungi and Bacteria strains from grassland leaf litter. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 76:278-285.

P61. Allison, S. D., Y. Lu, A. G. Kent, and A. C. Martiny. 2014. Extracellular enzyme production and cheating in Pseudomonas fluorescens depend on diffusion rates. Frontiers in Microbiology 5:169.

P60. Todd-Brown*, K. E. O., J. T. Randerson, F. Hopkins, V. Arora, T. Hajima, C. Jones, E. Shevliakova, J. Tjiputra, E. Volodin, T. Wu, Q. Zhang, and S. D. Allison. 2014. Changes in soil organic carbon storage predicted by Earth system models during the 21st century. Biogeosciences 11:2341-2356.

P59. Zimmerman*, A. E., A. C. Martiny, M. W. Lomas, and S. D. Allison. 2014. Phosphate supply explains variation in nucleic acid allocation but not C:P stoichiometry in the Western North Atlantic. Biogeosciences 11:1599-1611.

P58. Li, J., G. Wang, S. D. Allison, M. A. Mayes, and Y. Luo. 2014. Soil carbon sensitivity to temperature and carbon use efficiency compared across microbial-ecosystem models of varying complexity. Biogeochemistry 119:67-84.

P57. Zimmerman*, A. E., S. D. Allison, and A. C. Martiny. 2014. Phylogenetic constraints on elemental stoichiometry and resource allocation in heterotrophic marine bacteria. Environmental Microbiology 16:1398-1410.

P56. Bach†, C. E., D. D. Warnock, D. J. Van Horn, M. N. Weintraub, R. L. Sinsabaugh, S. D. Allison, and D. P. German#. 2013. Measuring phenol oxidase and peroxidase activities with pyrogallol, l-DOPA, and ABTS: Effect of assay conditions and soil type. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 67:183-191.

P55. Wieder, W. R., G. B. Bonan, and S. D. Allison. 2013. Global soil carbon predictions are improved by modelling microbial processes. Nature Climate Change 3:909-912.

P54. McGuire, K. L., S. D. Allison, N. Fierer, and K. K. Treseder 2013. Ectomycorrhizal-dominated boreal and tropical forests have distinct fungal communities, but analogous spatial patterns across soil horizons. PLoS One 8:e68278.

P53. Aronson#, E, S. D. Allison, and B. R. Helliker. 2013. Environmental impacts on the diversity of methane-cycling microbes and their resultant function. Frontiers in Microbiology 4:225.

P52. Bonachela, J. A., S. D. Allison, A. C. Martiny, and S. A. Levin. 2013. A model for variable phytoplankton stoichiometry based on cell protein regulation. Biogeosciences 10:4341-4356.

P51. Alster†, C. J., D. P. German#, Y. Lu, and S. D. Allison. 2013. Microbial enzymatic responses to drought and to nitrogen addition in a southern California grassland. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 64:68-79.

P50. Allison, S. D., Y. Lu, C. Weihe, M. L. Goulden, A. C. Martiny, K. K. Treseder, and J. B. H. Martiny. 2013. Microbial abundance and composition influence litter decomposition response to environmental change. Ecology 94:714-725.

P49. Zimmerman*, A. E., A. C. Martiny, and S. D. Allison. 2013. Microdiversity of extracellular enzyme genes among sequenced prokaryotic genomes. ISME Journal 7:1187-1199.

P48. Todd-Brown*, K. E. O., J. T. Randerson, W. M. Post, F. M. Hoffman, C. Tarnocai, E. A. G. Schuur, and S. D. Allison. 2013. Causes of variation in soil carbon simulations from CMIP5 Earth system models and comparison with observations. Biogeosciences 10:1717-1736.

P47. Shade, A., H. Peter, S. D. Allison, D. Baho, M. Berga, H. Buergmann, D. H. Huber, S. Langenheder, J. T. Lennon, J. B. Martiny, K. L. Matulich, T. M. Schmidt, J. Handelsman. 2012. Fundamentals of microbial community resistance and resilience. Frontiers in Microbiology 3:417.

P46. Folse#, H. J., III, and S. D. Allison. 2012. Cooperation, competition, and coalitions in enzyme-producing microbes: Social evolution and nutrient mineralization rates. Frontiers in Microbiology 3:338.

P45. Allison, S.D., Y. Chao, J. D. Farrara, S. Hatosy, and A. C. Martiny. 2012. Fine-scale temporal variation in marine extracellular enzymes of coastal southern California. Frontiers in Microbiology 3:301.

P44. Aronson#, E., and S. D. Allison. 2012. Meta-analysis of environmental impacts on nitrous oxide release in response to N amendment. Frontiers in Microbiology 3:272.

P43. Allison, S. D. 2012. A trait-based approach for modeling microbial litter decomposition. Ecology Letters 15:1058-1070.

P42. Todd-Brown*, K. E. O., F. M. Hopkins, S. N. Kivlin, J. M. Talbot, and S. D. Allison. 2012. A framework for representing microbial decomposition in coupled climate models. Biogeochemistry 109:19-33.

P41. German#, D. P., K. B. R. Marcelo†, M. M. Stone†, and S. D. Allison. 2012. The Michaelis-Menten kinetics of soil extracellular enzymes in response to temperature: a cross-latitudinal study. Global Change Biology 18:1468-1479.

P40. Stone†, M. M., M. S. Weiss, C. L. Goodale, M. B. Adams, I. J. Fernandez, D. P. German#, and S. D. Allison. 2012. Temperature sensitivity of soil enzyme kinetics under N-fertilization in two temperate forests. Global Change Biology 18:1173-1184.

O39. German#, D. P., M. N. Weintraub, A. S. Grandy, C. L. Lauber, Z. L. Rinkes, and S. D. Allison. 2012. Response to Steen and Ziervogel’s comment on “Optimization of hydrolytic and oxidative enzyme methods to ecosystem studies” [Soil Biology & Biochemistry 43: 1387-1397]. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 48:198-199.

O38. German#, D. P., M. N. Weintraub, A. S. Grandy, C. L. Lauber, Z. L. Rinkes, and S. D. Allison. 2012. Corrigendum to “Optimization of hydrolytic and oxidative enzyme methods for ecosystem studies” [Soil Biol. Biochem. 43 (2011) 1387-1397]. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 44:151.

P37. German#, D. P., M. N. Weintraub, A. S. Grandy, C. L. Lauber, Z. L. Rinkes, and S. D. Allison. 2011. Optimization of extracellular enzyme assay methods for ecosystem studies. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 43:1387-1397.

P36. Allison, S. D. and K. K Treseder. 2011. Climate change feedbacks to microbial decomposition in boreal soils. Fungal Ecology 4:362-374.

P35. German#, D. P., S. S. Chacon†, and S. D. Allison. 2011. Substrate concentration and enzyme allocation can affect rates of microbial decomposition. Ecology 92:1471-1480.

P34. Martiny, J. B. H., J. A. Eisen, K. Penn, S. D. Allison, and M. C. Horner-Devine. 2011. Drivers of bacterial ß-diversity depend on spatial scale. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 108:7850-7854.

B33. Allison, S. D., M. N. Weintraub, T. B. Gartner, and M. P. Waldrop. 2011. Evolutionary-economic principles as regulators of soil enzyme production and ecosystem function. pp. 229-243 in G. C. Shukla and A. Varma, editors. Soil Enzymology. Springer-Verlag.

B32. Wallenstein, M., S. Allison, J. Ernakovich, J. M. Steinweg, and R. Sinsabaugh. 2011. Controls on the temperature sensitivity of soil enzymes: A key driver of in-situ enzyme activity rates. pp. 245-257 in G. C. Shukla and A. Varma, editors. Soil Enzymology. Springer-Verlag.

P31. Allison, S. D., K. L. McGuire, and K. K. Treseder. 2010. Resistance of microbial and soil properties to warming treatment seven years after boreal fire. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 42:1872-1878.

P30. McGuire, K. L., E. Bent, J. Borneman, A. Majumder, S. D. Allison, and K. K. Treseder. 2010. Functional diversity in resource use by fungi. Ecology 91:2324-2332.

P29. Allison, S. D., M. D. Wallenstein, and M. A. Bradford. 2010. Soil-carbon response to warming dependent on microbial physiology. Nature Geoscience 3:336-340.

P28. Allison, S. D., T. B. Gartner, M. C. Mack, K. L. McGuire, and K. K. Treseder. 2010. Nitrogen alters C dynamics during early succession in boreal forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 42:1157-1164.

P27. Cornwell, W. K., J. H. C. Cornelissen, S. D. Allison, J. Bauhus, P. Eggleton, C. M. Preston, F. Scarff, J. T. Weedon, C. Wirth, A. E. Zanne. 2009. Plant traits and wood fates across the globe—rotted, burned, or consumed? Global Change Biology 15:2431-2449.

P26. Bradford, M. A., M. D. Wallenstein, S. D. Allison, K. K. Treseder, S. D. Frey, B. W. Watts, C. A. Davies, T. R. Maddox, J. M. Melillo, J. E. Mohan, and J. F. Reynolds. 2009. Decreased mass specific respiration under experimental warming is robust to the microbial biomass method employed. Ecology Letters 12:E15-E18.

P25. Allison, S. D., D. S. LeBauer, M. R. Ofrecio†, R. Reyes†, A.-M. Ta†, and T. M. Tran†. 2009. Low levels of nitrogen addition stimulate decomposition by boreal forest fungi. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 41:293-302.

P24. Allison, S. D., and K. K. Treseder. 2008. Warming and drying suppress microbial activity and carbon cycling in boreal forest soils. Global Change Biology 14:2898-2909.

P23. Hanson, C. A., S. D. Allison, M. A. Bradford, M. D. Wallenstein, and K. K. Treseder. 2008. Fungal taxa target different carbon sources in forest soil. Ecosystems 11:1157-1167.

P22. Talbot, J. M., S. D. Allison, and K. K. Treseder. 2008. Decomposers in disguise: mycorrhizal fungi as regulators of soil C dynamics in ecosystems under global change. Functional Ecology 22:955-963.

P21. Sinsabaugh, R. L., C. L. Lauber, M. N. Weintraub, B. Ahmed, S. D. Allison, C. Crenshaw, A. R. Contosta, D. Cusack, S. Frey, M. E. Gallo, T. B. Gartner, S. E. Hobbie, K. Holland, B. L. Keeler, J. S. Powers, M. Stursova, C. Takacs-Vesbach, M. P. Waldrop, M. D. Wallenstein, D. R. Zak, and L. H. Zeglin. 2008. Stoichiometry of soil enzyme activity at global scale. Ecology Letters 11:1252-1264.

P20. Cornwell, W. K., J. H. C. Cornelissen, K. Amatangelo, E. Dorrepaal, V. T. Eviner, O. Godoy, S. E. Hobbie, B. Hoorens, H. Kurokawa, N. Perez Harguindeguy, H. M. Quested, L. S. Santiago, D. A. Wardle, I. J. Wright, R. Aerts, S. D. Allison, P. van Bodegom, V. Brovkin, A. Chatain, T. Callaghan, S. Díaz, E. Garnier, D. E. Gurvich, E. Kazakou, J. A. Klein, J. Read, P. B. Reich, N. A. Soudzilovskaia, M. V. Vaieretti, and M. Westoby. 2008. Plant species traits are the predominant control on litter decomposition rates within biomes worldwide. Ecology Letters 11:1065-1071.

P19. Allison, S. D., and J. B. H. Martiny. 2008. Resistance, resilience, and redundancy in microbial communities. PNAS 105 (Suppl. 1):11512-11519.

P18. Treseder, K. K., C. I. Czimczik, S. E. Trumbore, and S. D. Allison. 2008. Uptake of an amino acid by ectomycorrhizal fungi in a boreal forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 40:1964-1966.

P17. Allison, S. D., C. I. Czimczik, and K. K. Treseder. 2008. Microbial activity and soil respiration under nitrogen addition in Alaskan boreal forest. Global Change Biology 14:1156-1168.

P16. Allison, S. D., C. A. Hanson, and K. K. Treseder. 2007. Nitrogen fertilization reduces diversity and alters community structure of active fungi in boreal ecosystems. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 39:1878-1887.

B15. Allison, S. D., T. B. Gartner, K. Holland, M. Weintraub, and R. L. Sinsabaugh. 2007. Soil enzymes: linking proteomics and ecological process. pp 704-711, Manual of Environmental Microbiology, 3rd Edition. ASM Press.

P14. Allison, S. D. 2006. Brown ground: a soil carbon analog for the Green World Hypothesis? American Naturalist 167:619-627.

P13. Allison, S. D. 2006. Soil minerals and humic acids alter enzyme stability: implications for ecosystem processes. Biogeochemistry 81:361-373.

P12. Allison, S. D., and J. D. Jastrow. 2006. Activities of extracellular enzymes in physically isolated fractions of restored grassland soils. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 38:3245-3256.

P11. Allison, S. D., C. B. Nielsen, and R. F. Hughes. 2006. Elevated enzyme activities in soils under the invasive nitrogen-fixing tree Falcataria moluccana. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 38:1537-1544.

P10. Allison, S. D. 2005. Cheaters, diffusion, and nutrients constrain decomposition by microbial enzymes in spatially structured environments. Ecology Letters 8:626-635.

P9. Allison, S. D., and P. M. Vitousek. 2005. Responses of extracellular enzymes to simple and complex nutrient inputs. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 37:937-944.

O8. Allison, S. D. 2005. Tropical Forest Diversity and Dynamism - Book Review. Quarterly Review of Biology 80:262.

P7. Allison, S. D., and J. C. Schultz. 2005. Biochemical responses of chestnut oak to a galling cynipid. Journal of Chemical Ecology 31:151-166.

P6. Allison, S. D., and P. M. Vitousek. 2004. Rapid nutrient cycling in leaf litter from invasive species in Hawai’i. Oecologia 141:612-619.

P5. Allison, S. D., and P. M. Vitousek. 2004. Extracellular enzyme activities and carbon chemistry as drivers of tropical plant litter decomposition. Biotropica 36:285-296.

P4. Allison, S. D., and J. C. Schultz. 2004. Differential activity of peroxidase isozymes in response to wounding, gypsy moth, and plant hormones in northern red oak (Quercus rubra L.). Journal of Chemical Ecology 30:1363-1379.

P3. Pauw, A., S. A. Van Bael, H. A. Peters, S. D. Allison, J. L. C. Camargo, M. Cifuentes-Jara, A. Conserva, T. G. Restom, T. Heartsill-Scalley, S. A. Mangan, G. Nunez-Iturri, E. Rivera-Ocasio, M. Rountree, S. Vetter, and C. V. de Castilho. 2004. Physical damage in relation to carbon allocation strategies of tropical forest tree saplings. Biotropica 63:410-413.

P2. Vitousek, P. M., O. A. Chadwick, P. A. Matson, S. Allison, L. A. Derry, L. Kettley, A. Luers, E. Mecking, V. Monastra, and S. Porder. 2003. Erosion and the rejuvenation of weathering-derived nutrient supply in an old tropical landscape. Ecosystems 6:762-772.

P1. Vitousek, P. M., S. Hättenschwiler, L. Olander, and S. Allison. 2002. Nitrogen and nature. Ambio 31:97-101.
Grants MSB: Do cheaters ever win? Examining microbial competition and extracellular enzyme production. $135,001. 8/1/09-7/31/11. Role: PI. NSF Evolutionary Processes.
Applying social evolution theory in microbial ecosystems. $368,994. 9/1/09-8/31/12. Role: PI. NSF Advancing Theory in Biology.
Can microbial functional traits predict the response and resilience of decomposition to global change? $2,383,120 (UCI portion). 7/1/10-6/30/13. Role: PI. DOE Biological and Environmental Research.
Dimensions: Collaborative research: Biological controls of the ocean C:N:P ratios. $1,037,957 (UCI portion). 1/1/11-12/31/15. Role: co-PI. NSF Dimensions of Biodiversity.
Response of soil bacterial communities associated with native and exotic plant species to management, climate and pollution disturbances in a coastal grassland. $30,000. 1/1/12-12/31/12. Role: PI. UCI Center for Environmental Biology.
Evolutionary trade-offs in the adaptation of decomposers to global warming: Implications for ecosystem C balance. $600,348 (UCI portion). 7/1/2013-6/30/2016. Role: Co-PI. NSF Ecosystem Studies.
Ecological Society of America
American Geophysical Union
Sigma Xi
Link to this profile
Last updated 12/13/2014