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prof. dr. ir. F.T. (Franciska) de Vries

Professor of Earth Surface Science
Faculty of Science
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

Visiting address
  • Science Park 904
  • Room number: C3.220
Postal address
  • Postbus 94240
    1090 GE Amsterdam
Contact details
Links
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  • Profile

    My research focuses on the organisms that live in the soil, such as fungi, bacteria, nematodes, mites, and many, many more barely visible creatures. These organisms perform key processes of carbon and nutrient cycling that underlie important ecosystem services such as climate mitigation, food production, and supporting aboveground biodiversity. However, climate change, land use change, agricultural intensification, and the loss and gain of plant species all threaten the diversity and functioning of soil communities, with direct consequences for the functions they perform. Through my research, I want to find out how these human-induced disturbances affect soil communities, and how we can protect these to conserve our ecosystems, mitigate climate change, and to make agriculture more sustainable. You can read more about my research in the tab “Research interests”.

    In addition to my research, I am passionate about instilling an appreciation of soils in the wider public, and about training the next generation of grounded soil scientists who will tackle our grand challenges of sustainable food production, conserving biodiversity, and climate mitigation and adaptation.

    I am also a strong proponent of diversity, equity, and transparency in academia and STEM. I blog about these issues, about my science, and about academia in general. 

  • Research

    My current research focuses on understanding the response of terrestrial ecosystems and their functioning to global change. I am particularly interested in how feedbacks between plants and soil microbes are altered under changing environmental conditions, and how a mechanistic understanding of these feedbacks will allow us to predict ecosystem response to climate change, with the ultimate aim of preserving their form and function, increasing their adaptability, and mitigating climate change.

     

    Current and past projects that I am leading are:

    Developing a trait-based framework for predicting soil microbial community response to extreme events

    NERC funded project – 2018-2021

    Co-investigators: Chris Knight, University of Manchester; Rob Griffiths, CEH Wallingford

    In this project, we will investigate how bacterial and fungal populations that live in the soil are affected by extreme weather events, and we aim to identify the traits that are responsible for this. For example, some groups of bacteria can form spores and thus survive a wide range of stresses, but there might be many other traits that can allow bacteria and fungi to cope with extreme weather events. We will use a unique experiment in which we subject soils from different climates across Europe not just to drought and flooding, but also to heatwave and freezing, and we will combine this with state-of-the-art DNA sequencing and bioinformatics to quantify bacterial and fungal response and to infer the traits responsible for this. In addition, we will measure how the processes that these organisms perform change with these extreme weather events. This work will result in fundamental knowledge on soil bacterial and fungal response to extreme weather events, and in a framework that allows us to predict how soils and their functioning will respond to extreme weather events. This knowledge is of the highest importance for adapting the Earth’s ecosystems to climate change.

     

    The root to stability – the role of plant roots in ecosystem response to climate change

    BBSRC David Phillips Fellowship – 2015-2020

    This project aims to investigate how plant roots and their exudates affect the response of ecosystems and their functioning to drought and warming. It will focus on grasslands, which cover a large part of the world, and are crucial for biodiversity and carbon and nitrogen storage. Because so little is known about how and why plants differ in their root exudates, we will first look at how different root systems affect the composition of root exudates, and how roots and root exudates themselves respond to drought and warming. Then, in a combination of laboratory and field experiments, we want to find out how roots and their exudates affect the response of soil bacteria and fungi to drought and warming, and how they might affect longer-term ecosystem response to drought and warming. The results of this work might be used to increase the resistance of ecosystems to climate change, for example through sowing specific plant species, or by informing plant breeding programmes.

     

    Ecosystem stability along a primary succession gradient

    Royal Society International Exchanges Grant – 2015-2017

    Co-investigator: Wolfgang Wanek, University of Vienna

    This project tests the hypothesis that ecosystem response to climate change will change along a primary succession gradient in a glacier foreland, and identify the

    relative role of soil and plants in modifying this response. Specifically, we will test whether the resistance of plant performance and soil processes to warming and drought will increase with ecosystem age. We hypothesise that with increasing ecosystem age both plant performance (photosynthesis and respiration rates, and aboveground and belowground biomass) and soil processes of C and N cycling will become more resistant to both drought and warming. We use the well-characterised Odenwinkelkees glacier foreland chronosequence to test these hypotheses. This project will provide insight into fundamental controls of ecosystem response to climate change, and will quantify the relative role of soil and plants in this response.

     

    Primary succession and ecosystem nitrogen retention in glacier forelands

    British Ecological Society Early Career Project Grant – 2012-2016

    Although the productivity of most terrestrial ecosystems is limited by the availability of nitrogen (N), very little is known about the factors that regulate ecosystem N retention and loss. During primary succession, soil microbial communities become more fungal-dominated and plant communities more N-conservative. My recent research has shown that soils with a fungal-dominated microbial community, as opposed to one dominated by bacteria, retain N better and, as a result, have lower N leaching losses. In this project, I hypothesise that ecosystem N retention will increase as primary succession proceeds and, specifically, that fungal-dominated soil microbial communities of late-successional seres will immobilise, and thus retain, more N than bacterial-dominated microbial communities of early-successional stages. To address this hypothesis,I used a chronosequence approach on glacier forelands, which are commonly used for studies on primary succession, toasses how ecosystem N retention changes as ecosystems develop, and how this relates to shifts in plant and microbial community structure.I collected soil from three well-described Alpine glacier foreland to test my hypotheseis in a mechanistic laboratory experiment: the Rotmoos and Ödenwinkelkees glaciers in Austria, and the Damma glacier in Switzerland.

     

  • Publications

    2018

    • Ramirez, K. S., Knight, C. G., de Hollander, M., Brearley, F. Q., Constantinides, B., Cotton, A., ... de Vries, F. T. (2018). Detecting macroecological patterns in bacterial communities across independent studies of global soils. Nature Microbiology, 3(2), 189-196. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-017-0062-x
    • de Vries, F. T., Griffiths, R. I., Bailey, M., Craig, H., Girlanda, M., Gweon, H. S., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2018). Soil bacterial networks are less stable under drought than fungal networks. Nature Communications, 9, [3033]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05516-7

    2013

    • de Vries, F. T., Thebault, E., Liiri, M., Birkhofer, K., Tsiafouli, M. A., Bjornlund, L., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2013). Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(35), 14296-14301. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1305198110

    2012

    • de Vries, F. T., Liiri, M. E., Bjornlund, L., Bowker, M. A., Christensen, S., Setala, H. M., & Bardgett, R. D. (2012). Land use alters the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to drought. Nature Climate Change, 2(4), 276-280. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1368

    2018

    • Bjorkman, A. D., Myers-Smith, I. H., Elmendorf, S. C., Normand, S., Ruger, N., Beck, P. S. A., ... Weiher, E. (2018). Plant functional trait change across a warming tundra biome. Nature, 562, 57-62. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41586-018-0563-7
    • Caruso, T., De Vries, F. T., Bardgett, R. D., & Lehmann, J. (2018). Soil organic carbon dynamics matching ecological equilibrium theory. Ecology and Evolution, 8(22), 11169-11178. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4586
    • Delgado-Baquerizo, M., Fry, E. L., Eldridge, D. J., de Vries, F. T., Manning, P., Hamonts, K., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2018). Plant attributes explain the distribution of soil microbial communities in two contrasting regions of the globe. New Phytologist, 219(2), 574-587. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.15161
    • Ramirez, K. S., Knight, C. G., de Hollander, M., Brearley, F. Q., Constantinides, B., Cotton, A., ... de Vries, F. T. (2018). Detecting macroecological patterns in bacterial communities across independent studies of global soils. Nature Microbiology, 3(2), 189-196. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41564-017-0062-x
    • Thomas, H. J. D., Myers-Smith, I. H., Bjorkman, A. D., Elmendorf, S. C., Blok, D., Cornelissen, J. H. C., ... van Bodegom, P. M. (2018). Traditional plant functional groups explain variation in economic but not size-related traits across the tundra biome. Global Ecology and Biogeography, 0(0), 78-95. https://doi.org/10.1111/geb.12783
    • de Vries, F. T., Griffiths, R. I., Bailey, M., Craig, H., Girlanda, M., Gweon, H. S., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2018). Soil bacterial networks are less stable under drought than fungal networks. Nature Communications, 9, [3033]. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-018-05516-7

    2017

    • Butler, E. E., Datta, A., Flores-Moreno, H., Chen, M., Wythers, K. R., Fazayeli, F., ... Reich, P. B. (2017). Mapping local and global variability in plant trait distributions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 114(51), E10937-E10946. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1708984114
    • Kaisermann, A., de Vries, F. T., Griffiths, R. I., & Bardgett, R. D. (2017). Legacy effects of drought on plant-soil feedbacks and plant-plant interactions. New Phytologist, 215(4), 1413-1424. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.14661
    • de Vries, F. T., & Wallenstein, M. D. (2017). Below-ground connections underlying above-ground food production: a framework for optimising ecological connections in the rhizosphere. Journal of Ecology, 105(4), 913-920. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12783

    2016

    • Griffiths, B. S., Roembke, J., Schmelz, R. M., Scheffczyk, A., Faber, J. H., Bloem, J., ... Stone, D. (2016). Selecting cost effective and policy-relevant biological indicators for European monitoring of soil biodiversity and ecosystem function. Ecological Indicators, 69, 213-223. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolind.2016.04.023
    • Thion, C. E., Poirel, J. D., Cornulier, T., De Vries, F. T., Bardgett, R. D., & Prosser, J. I. (2016). Plant nitrogen-use strategy as a driver of rhizosphere archaeal and bacterial ammonia oxidiser abundance. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 92(7). https://doi.org/10.1093/femsec/fiw091
    • de Vries, F. T., & Bardgett, R. D. (2016). Plant community controls on short-term ecosystem nitrogen retention. New Phytologist, 210(3), 861-874. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.13832
    • de Vries, F. T., & Caruso, T. (2016). Eating from the same plate? Revisiting the role of labile carbon inputs in the soil food web. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 102, 4-9. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2016.06.023
    • de Vries, F. T., Brown, C., & Stevens, C. J. (2016). Grassland species root response to drought: consequences for soil carbon and nitrogen availability. Plant and Soil, 409(1-2), 297-312. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11104-016-2964-4

    2015

    • De Vries, F. T., Jorgensen, H. B., Hedlund, K., & Bardgett, R. D. (2015). Disentangling plant and soil microbial controls on carbon and nitrogen loss in grassland mesocosms. Journal of Ecology, 103(3), 629-640. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12383
    • Manning, P., de Vries, F. T., Tallowin, J. R. B., Smith, R., Mortimer, S. R., Pilgrim, E. S., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2015). Simple measures of climate, soil properties and plant traits predict national-scale grassland soil carbon stocks. Journal of Applied Ecology, 52(5), 1188-1196. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12478
    • Ramirez, K. S., Döring, M., Eisenhauer, N., Gardi, C., Ladau, J., Leff, J. W., ... Wall, D. H. (2015). Towards a global platform for linking soil biodiversity data. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 3, [91]. https://doi.org/10.3389/fevo.2015.00091
    • Tsiafouli, M. A., Thebault, E., Sgardelis, S. P., de Ruiter, P. C., van der Putten, W. H., Birkhofer, K., ... Hedlund, K. (2015). Intensive agriculture reduces soil biodiversity across Europe. Global Change Biology, 21(2), 973-985. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12752

    2014

    • Bardgett, R. D., Mommer, L., & De Vries, F. T. (2014). Going underground: root traits as drivers of ecosystem processes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution, 29(12), 692-699.
    • Setala, H., Bardgett, R. D., Birkhofer, K., Brady, M., Byrne, L., de Ruiter, P. C., ... van der Putten, W. H. (2014). Urban and agricultural soils: conflicts and trade-offs in the optimization of ecosystem services. Urban Ecosystems, 17(1), 239-253. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11252-013-0311-6

    2013

    • Bardgett, R. D., Manning, P., Morriën, E., & de Vries, F. T. (2013). Hierarchical responses of plant soil interactions to climate change: consequences for the global carbon cycle. Journal of Ecology, 101(2), 334-343. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.12043
    • de Vries, F. T., & Shade, A. (2013). Controls on soil microbial community stability under climate change. Frontiers in Microbiology, 4. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2013.00265
    • de Vries, F. T., Thebault, E., Liiri, M., Birkhofer, K., Tsiafouli, M. A., Bjornlund, L., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2013). Soil food web properties explain ecosystem services across European land use systems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(35), 14296-14301. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1305198110

    2012

    • Thiele-Bruhn, S., Bloem, J., de Vries, F. T., Kalbitz, K., & Wagg, C. (2012). Linking soil biodiversity and agricultural soil management. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 4(5), 523-528. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2012.06.004 [details]
    • de Vries, F. T., & Bardgett, R. D. (2012). Plant-microbial linkages and ecosystem nitrogen retention: lessons for sustainable agriculture. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 10(8), 425-432. https://doi.org/10.1890/110162
    • de Vries, F. T., Bloem, J., Quirk, H., Stevens, C. J., Bol, R., & Bardgett, R. D. (2012). Extensive management promotes plant and microbial nitrogen retention in temperate grassland. PLoS ONE, 7(12), e51201. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0051201
    • de Vries, F. T., Liiri, M. E., Bjornlund, L., Bowker, M. A., Christensen, S., Setala, H. M., & Bardgett, R. D. (2012). Land use alters the resistance and resilience of soil food webs to drought. Nature Climate Change, 2(4), 276-280. https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1368
    • de Vries, F. T., Liiri, M. E., Bjornlund, L., Setala, H. M., Christensen, S., & Bardgett, R. D. (2012). Legacy effects of drought on plant growth and the soil food web. Oecologia, 170(3), 821-833. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-012-2331-y
    • de Vries, F. T., Manning, P., Tallowin, J. R. B., Mortimer, S. R., Pilgrim, E. S., Harrison, K. A., ... Bardgett, R. D. (2012). Abiotic drivers and plant traits explain landscape-scale patterns in soil microbial communities. Ecology Letters, 15(11), 1230-1239. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2012.01844.x

    2011

    • de Vries, FT., van Groenigen, JW., Hoffland, E., & Bloem, J. (2011). Nitrogen losses from two grassland soils with different fungal biomass. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 43(5), 997-1005. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2011.01.016

    2009

    • de Vries, F., Baath, E., Kuyper, TW., & Bloem, J. (2009). High turnover of fungal hyphae in incubation experiments. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 67(3), 389-396. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1574-6941.2008.00643.x
    • van Eekeren, N., van Liere, D., de Vries, F., Rutgers, M., de Goede, R., & Brussaard, L. (2009). A mixture of grass and clover combines the positive effects of both plant species on selected soil biota. Applied Soil Ecology, 42(3), 254-263. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apsoil.2009.04.006

    2007

    • Wijnhoven, S., Leuven, R. S. E. W., Van Der Velde, G., Jungheim, G., Koelemij, E. I., De Vries, F. T., ... Smits, A. J. M. (2007). Heavy-metal concentrations in small mammals from a diffusely polluted floodplain: Importance of species- and location-specific characteristics. Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology, 52(4), 603-613. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00244-006-0124-1
    • de Vries, FT., Bloem, J., van Eekeren, N., Brusaard, L., & Hoffland, E. (2007). Fungal biomass in pastures increases with age and reduced N input. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 39(7), 1620-1630. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2007.01.013

    2006

    • de Vries, FT., Hoffland, E., van Eekeren, N., Brussaard, L., & Bloem, J. (2006). Fungal/bacterial ratios in grasslands with contrasting nitrogen management. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 38(8), 2092-2103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.soilbio.2006.01.008

    2005

    • Postma-Blaauw, MB., de Vries, FT., de Goede, RGM., Bloem, J., Faber, JH., & Brussaard, L. (2005). Within-trophic group interactions of bacterivorous nematode species and their effects on the bacterial community and nitrogen mineralization. Oecologia, 142(3), 428-439. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00442-004-1741-x
    This list of publications is extracted from the UvA-Current Research Information System. Questions? Ask the library or the Pure staff of your faculty / institute. Log in to Pure to edit your publications. Log in to Personal Page Publication Selection tool to manage the visibility of your publications on this list.
  • Ancillary activities
    • UKRI-BBSRC
      Grant evaluation committe