Caitlin E. Hicks Pries

Assistant Professor
Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Graduate Program in Ecology, Evolution, Ecosystems and Society
S.A. Wilde Early Career Achievement Award 2018

I am broadly interested in the terrestrial carbon cycle and how the carbon balance of ecosystems is determined by the interplay of soil and plant processes with climate. I have recently focused on deep soil organic carbon in temperate ecosystems and what processes determine its stability and how those stabilization processes are affected by climate change. Throughout my research, I use isotopes (both natural abundance and enriched levels) as tools: I enrich plants in 13C and 15N in order to trace the fate of their organic matter in soils, I use the δ13C and ∆14C (radiocarbon) of respired CO2 to partition ecosystem into plant and microbial sources, and I use radiocarbon to estimate the age of soil carbon and model soil carbon processes.

Curriculum Vitae Personal Website Twitter
The Class of 1978 Life Sciences Center, room 349
HB 6044
Biological Sciences
Earth Sciences
B.A. Middlebury College
M.S. University of Florida
Ph.D. University of Florida

Selected Publications

Refereed Journal Articles:

Kwon M.J., S.M. Natali, C.E. Hicks Pries, E.A.G. Schuur, A. Steinhof,  K.G. Crummer,  N. Zimov,  S.A. Zimov,  M. Heimann, O. Kolle,  M. Göckede. 2019. Drainage enhances modern soil carbon contribution but reduces old soil carbon contribution to ecosystem respiration in tundra ecosystems. Global Change Biology.

Hicks Pries C.E., B.N. Sulman, C. West, C. O’Neill, E. Poppleton, R.C. Porras, C. Castanha, B. Zhu, D.B. Wiedemeir, M.S. Torn. 2018. Root litter decomposition slows with soil depth. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 125: 105-114.

Hicks Pries C.E., Castanha C., Porras R.C., Phillips C., Torn M.S. 2018. The whole-soil carbon flux in response to warming: Technical comment response. Science 359 (6378). DOI: 10.1126/science.aao0457.

Rasmussen C., Heckman K., Wieder W., Keiluweit M., Lawrence C., Asefaw-Berhe A., Blankinship J., Crow S., Druhan J., Hicks Pries C., Marin-Spiotta E., Plante A., Schaedel C., Schimel J., Sierra J., Thompson A., Wagai R. 2018. Beyond clay: towards an improved set of variables for predicting soil organic matter content. Biogeochemistry 137 (3): 297-306.


Castanha, C., Zhu B., Hicks Pries C.E., Georgiou K., Torn M.S. 2018. Compensatory effects of heating, rhizosphere, and depth on soil moisture mediate decomposition of root litter in a Mediterranean grassland ecosystem. Biogeochemistry 137:267–279.

Porras R.C., Hicks Pries C.E., Torn M.S., Nico P.S. 2018. Synthetic iron (hydr)oxide-glucose associations in subsurface soil: Effects on decomposability of mineral associated carbon. Science of the Total Environment 613-614C, 342-351. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.290.


Hicks Pries C.E., Bird J.A., Castanha C., Hatton P.J., Torn M.S. 2017. Long term decomposition: The influence of litter type and soil horizon on retention of plant carbon and nitrogen in soils. Biogeochemistry 134 (1-2), 5-16.

Porras R.C., Hicks Pries C.E., McFarlane K.J., Torn M.S. 2017. Association with pedogenic iron and aluminum: Effects on soil organic matter storage and stability in temperate forest soils. Biogeochemistry 133 (3), 333-345.

Hicks Pries C.E., Castanha C., Porras R.C., Torn M.S. 2017. The whole-soil carbon flux in response to warming. Science 355 (6332), 1420-1423. DOI: 10.1126/science.aal1319

Hicks Pries, C.E., E.A.G. Schuur, S.M. Natali, K.G. Crummer. 2016. Old soil carbon losses increase with ecosystem respiration in experimentally thawed tundra. Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate2830

Hicks Pries, C.E., R.S.P. Logtestijn, E.A.G. Schuur, S.M. Natali, J.H.C. Cornelissen, R. Aerts, E. Dorrepaal. 2015. Decadal warming causes a consistent and persistent shift from heterotrophic to autotrophic respiration in contrasting permafrost ecosystems. Global Change Biology 21 (12), 4508-4519 doi: 10.1111/gcb.13032

Torn, M.S., A. Chabbi, P. Crill, P.J. Hanson, I.A. Janssens, Y. Luo, C.H. Pries, C. Rumpel, M.W.I. Schmidt , J. Six, M. Schrumpf, and B. Zhu. 2015. A call for international soil experiment networks for studying, predicting, and managing global change impacts. SOIL 1, 575-582 doi:10.5194/soil-1-575-2015

Natali, S.M., E.A.G. Schuur, E. E. Webb, C.E. Hicks Pries, K.G. Crummer. 2014. Permafrost degradation stimulates carbon loss from experimentally warmed tundra. Ecology 95 (3)

Hicks Pries, C.E., E.A.G. Schuur, J.G. Vogel, S.M. Natali. 2013. Moisture drives surface decomposition in thawing tundra. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences, doi: 10.1002/jgrg.20089.

Hicks Pries, C.E., Schuur E.A.G., Crummer K.G. 2013. Thawing permafrost increases old soil and autotrophic respiration in tundra: Partitioning ecosystem respiration using δ13C and ∆14C. Global Change Biology 19 (2) doi: 10.1111/gcb.12058.

Hicks Pries, C.E., E.A.G. Schuur, and K.G. Crummer. 2012. Holocene Carbon Stocks and Carbon Accumulation Rates Altered in Soils Undergoing Permafrost Thaw. Ecosystems 12 (1): 162-173.

Hicks Pries, C.E. and J. Hughes. 2012. Inquiring into familiar objects: An inquiry-based approach to introduce scientific vocabulary. Science Activities 49 (2): 64-69.

Hicks Pries, C.E. and J. Hughes. 2011. Powering the Future: A wind turbine design competition. Science Scope 35 (4): 24-30.

Natali, S. M., E.A.G. Schuur, C. Trucco, C.E. Hicks Pries, K. G. Crummer, and A.F. Baron Lopez. 2011. Effects of experimental warming of air, soil and permafrost on carbon balance in Alaskan tundra. Global Change Biology 17 (3): 1394-1407.

Non Refereed Articles and Book Chapters:

Schuur E.A.G., Carbone M.S., Hicks Pries C.E., Hopkins F., Natali S.M. 2016. Radiocarbon in terrestrial systems in Radiocarbon in Ecology and Earth System Science. Schuur E.A.G. and S. Trumbore, editors.

Trumbore, S., Sierra C.A., Hicks Pries C.E. 2016. Radiocarbon nomenclature, theory, models, and interpretation: Measuring age, tracing source pools, and determining cycling rates in Radiocarbon in Ecology and Earth System Science. Schuur E.A.G. and S. Trumbore, editors.

E. Pegoraro and C.E. Hicks Pries. 2013. Decay in the Alaskan tundra: the effects of initial litter quality and leaching on long-term plant decomposition. Journal of Undergraduate Research 14(2). To access:

Mason C.M., C.E. Hicks Pries, and E. A. G. Schuur. 2010. Seasonal differences in nutrient allocation of arctic tundra vegetation. University of Florida Journal of Undergraduate Research 11(2). To access:

Mayor J.R. and C.E. Hicks. 2009. Potential impacts of elevated CO2 on plant interactions, sustained growth, and C cycling in salt marsh ecosystems in Human Impacts on Salt Marshes: A Global Perspective. Silliman B.R., M.D. Bertness, and E.D. Grosholz, editors.

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