Bala Chaudhary

Assistant Professor
Academic Appointments

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies

Bala Chaudhary is a soil ecologist specializing in plant-soil-microbial interactions and mycorrhizal symbioses. Research in her lab examines ecosystem-scale questions in mycorrhizal ecology along four main themes: microbial dispersal at the macrosystems scale, trait-based mycorrhizal ecology, synthesis in ecology, and microbial mediation of global change solutions. She uses trait-based approaches to develop predictive frameworks for mycorrhizal dispersal, community assembly, and biogeography, and employs complimentary approaches of macroecological field work, controlled lab experiments, and data synthesis to study multi-scale questions in ecology. Her work spans dozens of ecosystem types and has applications in global change solutions including climate mitigation and adaptation, soil conservation, ecosystem restoration, and sustainable agriculture. She also conducts research on ways to broaden scientific participation and promote racial and ethnic diversity, equity, and inclusion in STEM.

111 Steele
HB 6182
Environmental Studies
B.A. University of Chicago
M.S. Northern Arizona University
Ph.D. Northern Arizona University

Selected Publications

Schusler, T, CB Espedido, BK Rivera, M Hernández, AM Howerton, K Sepp, MD Engel, J Marcos, VB Chaudhary. 2021. Students of colour views on racial equity in environmental sustainability. Nature Sustainability, 1-8.

Chaudhary, VB, S Nolimal, MA Sosa‐Hernández, C Egan, J Kastens. 2020. Trait‐based aerial dispersal of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. New Phytologist, 228: 238-252.

Chaudhary, VB, K Akland, NC Johnson, MA Bowker. 2020. Do soil inoculants accelerate dryland restoration? A simultaneous assessment of biocrusts and mycorrhizal fungi. Restoration Ecology, 28: S115-S126.

Chaudhary, VB, A Asefaw Berhe. 2020. Ten simple rules for building an antiracist lab. PLOS Computational Biology, 16(10): e1008210.

Antoninka, A, A Faist, E Rodriguez‐Caballero, KE Young, VB Chaudhary, LA Condon, DA Pyke. 2020. Biological soil crusts in ecological restoration: emerging research and perspectives. Restoration Ecology, 28: S3-S8.

Chaudhary, VB, E Sandall, M Lazarski. 2019. Urban mycorrhizas: predicting arbuscular mycorrhizal abundance in green roofs. Fungal Ecology, 40: 12-19.

Hoeksema, JD, J Bever, S Chakraborty, VB Chaudhary, M Gardes, CA Gehring, MM Hart, EA Housworth, W Kaonongbua, JN Klironomos, MJ Lajeunesse, J Meadow, BG Milligan, BJ Piculell, A Pringle, MA Rúa, J Umbanhowar, W Viechtbauer, Y-W Wang, GWT Wilson, P Zee. 2018. Evolutionary history of plant hosts and fungal symbionts predicts the strength of mycorrhizal mutualism. Communications Biology, 1(1), 116.

Hart, MM, PM Antunes, VB Chaudhary, LL Abbott. 2018. Fungal inoculants in the field – is the reward greater than the risk? Functional Ecology, 32(1):126-35.

Chaudhary, VB, MA Rúa, A Antoninka, JD Bever, J Cannon, A Craig, J Duchicela, A Frame, M Gardes, C Gehring, M Ha, M Hart, J Hopkins, B Ji, NC Johnson, W Kaonongbua, J Karst, RT Koide, LJ Lamit, J Meadow, BG Milligan, JC Moore, TH Pendergast IV, B Piculell, B Ramsby, S Simard, S Shrestha, J Umbanhowar, W Viechtbauer, L Walters, GWT Wilson, P Zee, JD Hoeksema. 2016. MycoDB, a global database of plant response to mycorrhizal fungi. Scientific Data 3, 160028.

Hoeksema, JD, VB Chaudhary, CA Gehring, NC Johnson, J Karst, RT Koide, A Pringle, C Zabinski, JD Bever, JC Moore, GWT Wilson, JN Klironomos, J Umbanhowar. 2010. A meta-analysis of context-dependency in plant response to inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi. Ecology Letters 13(3):394-407

Chaudhary, VB, TE O’Dell, MA Bowker, JB Grace, AE Redman, MC Rillig, NC Johnson. 2009. Untangling the biological controls of soil stability in semi-arid shrublands. Ecological Applications 19:110-122.

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