Bala Chaudhary

|Associate Professor
Academic Appointments

Associate Professor of Environmental Studies

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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.


Steele, Room 111
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.

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