Montana State University

Department of Land Resources and Environmental Sciences

Montana State University
P.O. Box 173120
Bozeman, MT 59717-3120

Tel: (406) 994-7060
Fax: (406) 994-3933
Location: 334 Leon Johnson Hall

Academic Programs:

Tel: (406) 994-3090

Department Head:

Dr. Tracy M. Sterling

Catherine Zabinski

Professor; Ph.D. 1991, University of Minnesota; B.A. 1983, College of St. Benedict, Minnesota. My work in belowground ecology takes place in the context of restoration, comparing disturbed, undisturbed and restored sites; in the context of natural extreme sites, particularly the thermal sites in Yellowstone National Park; and increasingly on questions related to sustainable agriculture. I am interested in mycorrhizal ecology, root system dynamics, plant-microbe interactions, and soil processes including decomposition and nutrient cycling.

Recent Publications:

  • Lekberg, Y., J. Meadow, J.R. Rohr, D. Redecker, C. A. Zabinski. 2011. Importance of dispersal and thermal environment for mycorrhizal communities: Lessons from Yellowstone National Park. Ecology, 92: 1292-1302.
  • DeLuca, T. and C. Zabinski. 2011. Prairie ecosystems and the carbon problem. Ecological Frontiers, doi: 10.1890/100063
  • Taylor, C., O. Stein, P. Hook, and C. Zabinski. 2011. Seasonal effects of 19 plant species on COD removal in subsurface treatment wetland microcosms. Ecological Engineering, 37: 197-203.
  • Hoeksema, J., V. Chaudhary, C. Gehring, N. Johnson, J. Karst, R. Koide, A. Pringle, C. Zabinski, J. Bever, J. Moore, G. Wilson, J. Klironomos, John; J. Umbanhowar. 2010. A meta-analysis of context dependency in plant response to mycorrhizal fungi. Ecology Letters. 13: 394-407.
  • Bunn, R., Y. Lekberg, C. Zabinski. 2009. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi ameliorate temperature stress in thermophilic plants. Ecology. 90:1378-88

Recent Grants:

  • “Using cover crop mixtures to improve soil health in low rainfall areas of the northern Plains”, Western SARE (Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension), with Perry Miller and Clain Jones, 2011-2014
  • “Nutritional value of locally grown vegetables: Determining management effects and marketing potential”, Montana Department of Agriculture Specialty Crop Grant, with Bruce Maxwell and Karin Neff, 2010-2013
  • “Understanding carbon dynamics: Agronomic, socioeconomic, and biophysical tradeoffs in determining the sustainability of multifunctional cropping systems in the Northern Great Plains”, USDA NRI, with Bruce Maxwell, Perry Miller, and David Buschena, 2009-2011

Current Instructional Responsibilities:

  • ENSC 499 - LRES Capstone
  • ENSC 461 - Restoration Ecology (Fall)
  • LRES 561 - BelowGround Plant Ecology (Spring, odd years)