Soil Microbiology, Microbial Ecology and
Office: 231 Johnson Hall
Lab: 228 Johnson Hall
Department of Crop and Soil Sciences
PO Box 646420
Washington State University
Pullman, WA 99164-6420
Ph.D., Cornell University, Soil Science, Sub-disciplines: Microbiology, Toxicology, 2010
M.S., Colorado State University, M.S., Soil Science, Emphasis: Microbiology, 2004
B.S., Colorado State University, Restoration Ecology/Rangeland Ecosystem Science, 2002
My research emphasis is on linking the function and phylogeny of the soil microbiome, specifically with regard to the interactions and impacts on metal bioavailability. Whether the context is micronutrient availability in the rhizosphere, which confers plant growth promotion and crop enhancement, or in the context of contaminated systems where bioremediation and bioaugmentation are the best options to remediate heavy metals polluted sites, the soil microbiome is key in theses biotransformations. Understanding the consortia of organisms and the mechanisms involved drives the work in my lab with a wide array of biochemical and molecular techniques.
Rick Lewis, Post-doctoral research associate
Kalyani Muhunthan, Research associate
Tautges, N.E., Sullivan, T.S., Reardon, C.L., and I.C. Burke. 2016. Soil Microbial Diversity and Activity Linked to Crop Yield and Quality in Dryland Organic Wheat Production System. Applied Soil Ecology 108:258-268.
Sullivan, T.S., J.E. Thies, and M.B. McBride. 2013. Rhizosphere microbial community and Zn uptake by willow (Salix purpurea L.) depend on soil sulfur concentrations in metalliferous peat soils. Applied Soil Ecology, 67:53-60.
Sullivan, T.S., M.B. McBride, and J.E. Thies. 2013. Field-scale heterogeneity of S, Zn, Cd, and Cu impacts phytoavailability and microbial community in a metalliferous peat soil. In press Soil Biology & Biochemistry.
Duchicela, J., T.S. Sullivan, E. Bontti, and J.D. Bever. (Published Online 19 July 2013). Soil aggregate stability increase is strongly related to fungal community succession along an abandoned agricultural field chronosequence in the Bolivian Altiplano. Journal of Applied Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/1365-2664.12130.
Sullivant, T.S., N.R. Gottel, N. Basta, P.M. Jardine, and C.W. Schadt. 2012. Firing range soils yield a diverse array of fungal isolates capable of Pb-mineral solubilization. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 78(17):6078-6086.
*Note: We were granted the cover image for AEM Volume 78, Number 24.
Sullivan, T.S., Ramkissoon, S., Garrison, V.H., Rhamsubhag, A., and J.E. Thies. 2012. Siderophore production of African dust microorganisms over Trinidad & Tobago. Aerobiologia, 28(3):391-401.
Tarah Sullivan is fiercely insistent that we all interconnected. The Washington State University soil microbiologist and ecologist says that understanding those connections is key to a healthy future.
“I know it sounds a little hokey,” the mother of two daughters apologizes without backing down: “Microorganisms connect everything everyday in every way. We absolutely could not survive on the planet without active and healthy microbiomes, in humans and in the environment.”
Soils harbor more diverse microbial populations than any other habitat on earth. Only a very small fraction of those organisms are responsible for any type of plant or animal disease. In fact, the vast majority of these microscopic soil organisms are highly beneficial in terms of nutrient cycling, soil tilth, and soil health. Because of their important roles in these crucial soil properties and their direct interactions with plants, beneficial soil microorganisms are also absolutely critical to soil fertility and plant nutrition. Unfortunately, the rapid acidification of soils in the inland Pacific Northwest is having detrimental impacts on the populations and effectiveness of beneficial soil microorganisms.
November 1, 4:00 p.m: Special Seminar, PACCAR Bldg, Room 202
– Wine and cheese reception to follow in PACCAR Town Hall (Room 200)
November 3, 3:00-6:00 p.m.: Hands-on workshop, PACCAR Bldg, Room 202
– Participants will work with real data
– Participants must bring their own laptop with wifi capabilities
– Click here to register for the workshop
– You must register for the workshop by October 14
According to Tarah Sullivan, Washington State University, “the specific metabolic activities and signaling that takes place within the microbiome and between the microbes and their host plants is a rapidly growing focus area of scientific understanding.” Her research seeks to bridge the gap in knowledge about the functional role of microorganisms associated with the roots of plant species, with specific focus on metal chelating abilities of members of the plant and soil microbiome.
Tarah Sullivan is fascinated by fungi, especially the ones in agricultural soils that offer hope for addressing toxicity issues by transforming harmful metals.