Sharon Billings

Associate Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Associate Scientist, Kansas Biological Survey
785-864-1560
Higuchi Hall

Dr. Sharon Billings' research characterizes the features governing nitrogen, carbon and water fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, and how these dynamics are influenced by environmental change.

I focus on global-scale perturbations (e.g., changed precipitation patterns and temperature regimes, elevated carbon dioxide, altered nitrogen availability) in an effort to predict how Earth's biogeochemical cycles--and their dependencies on each other--will function in the future. Such work is critical for understanding the atmospheric composition and ecosystem production of our planet.

Selected Publications

  • Ziegler, S. E., S. A. Billings, C. S. Lane, J. Li, and M. L. Fogel. 2013. "Warming alters routing of labile and slower-turnover carbon through distinct microbial groups in boreal forest organic soils" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 60. 23-32.
  • Lehmeier, C. A., K. Min, N. D. Niehues, F. Ballantyne, and S. A. Billings. 2013. "Temperature-mediated changes of exoenzyme-substrate reaction rates and their consequences for the carbon to nitrogen flow ratio of liberated resources" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 57. 374-382.
  • Billings, S. A. and F. Ballantyne. 2013. "How interactions between microbial resource demands, soil organic matter stoichiometry, and substrate reactivity determine the direction and magnitude of soil respiratory responses to warming" Global Change Biology.
  • Li, J., S. E. Ziegler, C. S. Lane, and S. A. Billings. 2012. "Warming-enhanced preferential mineralization of humified boreal forest soil organic matter: Interpretation of soil profiles along a climate transect using laboratory incubations" Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences. 117. G02008.
  • Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2012. "Tracking C and N flows through microbial biomass with increased soil moisture variability" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 49. 11-22.
  • Grandy, A. S., J. M. Fraterrigo, and S. A. Billings. 2012. "Soil ecosystem resilience and recovery" Soil Ecology and Ecosystem Services. edited by Wall, D. H., R. D. Bardgett, V. Behan-Pelletier, J. E. Herrick, H. Jones, K. Ritz, J. Six, D. R. Strong, and W. H. van der Putten.
  • Billings, S. A., S. E. Ziegler, W. H. Schlesinger, R. Benner, and D. d. Richter. 2012. "Predicting carbon cycle feedbacks to climate: Integrating the right tools for the job" Eos. 93. 188-189.
  • Ziegler, S. E. and S. A. Billings. 2011. "Soil nitrogen status as a regulator of carbon substrate flows through microbial communities with elevated CO2" Journal of Geophysical Research – Biogeosciences. 116. G01011.
  • Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2011. "Indirect effects of nitrogen amendments on organic substrate quality increase enzymatic activity driving decomposition in a mesic grassland" Ecosystems. 14. 234-247.
  • Drake, J., A. Gallet-Budynek, K. Hofmockel, E. Bernhardt, S. A. Billings, R. B. Jackson, K. Johnsen, J. Lichter, R. Phillips, H. McCarthy, D. S. Moore, M. L. McCormack, S. Palmroth, R. Oren, J. Pippen, S. Pritchard, K. Treseder, W. H. Schlesinger, E. H. DeLucia, and A. C. Finzi. 2011. "Increases in the flux of carbon belowground stimulate nitrogen uptake and sustain the long-term enhancement of forest productivity under elevated CO2" Ecology Letters. 14. 349-357.
  • Billings, S. A. and N. Phillips. 2011. "Forest biogeochemistry and drought" Forest Hydrology and Biogeochemistry: Synthesis of Past Research and Future Directions. edited by Levia, D. F., D. E. Carlyle-Moses, and T. Tanaka. 581-597.
  • Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2011. "Changes in variability of soil moisture alter microbial community C and N resource use" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 43. 1837-1847.
  • Smith, V. H., B. S. M. Sturm, F. J. deNoyelles, and S. A. Billings. 2010. "The ecology of algal biodiesel production" Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 25. 301-309.
  • Goedhart, C. M., D. E. Pataki, and S. A. Billings. 2010. "Seasonal variations in plant nitrogen relations and photosynthesis along a grassland to shrubland gradient in Owens Valley, California" Plant and Soil. 327. 213-223.
  • Grandy, A. S., S. A. Billings, and D. d. B. Richter. 2010. "Saving our soils" Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 8. 171.
  • Billings, S. A., R. W. Buddemeier, D. d. B. Richter, K. van Oost, and G. Bohling. 2010. "A simple method for estimating the influence of eroding soil profiles on atmospheric CO2" Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 24. GB2001.
  • Billings, S. A., J. Lichter, S. E. Ziegler, B. A. Hungate, and D. d. B. Richter. 2010. "A call to investigate drivers of soil organic matter retention vs. mineralization in a high CO2 world" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 42. 665-668.
  • York, H. A. and S. A. Billings. 2009. "Stable-isotope analysis of diet in the short-tailed fruit bats (Chiroptera: Phyllostomidae: Carollia)" Journal of Mammalogy. 90. 1469-1477.
  • Pataki, D. E., S. A. Billings, E. Naumberg, and C. M. Goedhart. 2008. "Water sources and nitrogen relations of grasses and shrubs in phreatophytic communities of the Great Basin Desert" Journal of Arid Environments. 72. 1581-1593.
  • Billings, S. A. and D. d. Richter. 2008. "The science of global soil change: Networking for our future" Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union. 89. 151.
  • Bijoor, N. S., C. Czimczik, D. E. Pataki, and S. A. Billings. 2008. "The effects of temperature and fertilization on nitrogen cycling and community composition of an urban lawn" Global Change Biology. 14. 2119-2131.
  • Richter, D. d. and S. A. Billings. 2008. "Strengthening the world’s long-term soil research base" International Union of Soil Scientists Bulletin. 112. 10-12.
  • Billings, S. A. and E. Gaydess. 2008. "Soil nitrogen and carbon dynamics in a fragmented landscape experiencing forest succession" Landscape Ecology. 23. 581-593.
  • Lichter, J., S. A. Billings, S. E. Ziegler, D. Gaindh, R. Ryals, A. C. Finzi, R. B. Jackson, E. A. Stemmler, and W. H. Schlesinger. 2008. "Soil carbon sequestration in a pine forest after nine years of atmospheric CO2 enrichment" Global Change Biology. 14. 2910-2922.
  • Haavik, L., F. Stephen, M. Fierke, V. Salisbury, S. Leavitt, and S. A. Billings. 2008. "Dendrochronological parameters of northern red oak (Quercus rubra Fagaceae) infested with red oak borer (Enapholodes rufulus (Haldeman) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae))" Forest Ecology and Management. 255. 1501-1509.
  • Tiemann, L. K. and S. A. Billings. 2008. "Carbon controls on nitrous oxide production with changes in substrate availability in a North American grassland" Soil Science. 173. 332-341.
  • Billings, S. A.. 2008. "Biogeochemistry: Nitrous oxide in flux" Nature. 456. 888.
  • Billings, S. A. and S. E. Ziegler. 2008. "Altered patterns of soil carbon substrate usage and heterotrophic respiration in a pine forest with elevated CO2 and N fertilization" Global Change Biology. 14. 1-12.
  • Schaeffer, S. M., S. A. Billings, and R. D. Evans. 2007. "Laboratory incubations reveal potential responses of soil nitrogen cycling to changes in soil C and N availability in Mojave Desert soils exposed to elevated atmospheric CO2" Global Change Biology. 13. 854-865.
  • Billings, S. A.. 2006. "Soil organic matter dynamics and land use change at a grassland/forest ecotone" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 38. 2934-2943.
  • Billings, S. A., C. M. Brewer, and B. L. Foster. 2006. "Incorporation of plant residues into soil organic matter fractions with grassland management practices in the North American Midwest" Ecosystems. 9. 805-815.
  • Billings, S. A. and D. d. Richter. 2006. "Changes in stable isotopic signatures of soil nitrogen and carbon during forty years of forest development" Oecologia. 148. 325-333.
  • Billings, S. A. and S. E. Ziegler. 2005. "Linking microbial activity and soil organic matter transformations in forest soils under elevated CO2" Global Change Biology. 11. 203-212.
  • Billings, S. A., S. M. Schaeffer, and R. D. Evans. 2004. "Soil microbial activity and N availability with elevated CO2 in Mojave Desert soils" Global Biogeochemical Cycles. 18. GB1011.
  • Billings, S. A., S. M. Schaeffer, S. Zitzer, and R. D. Evans. 2003. "Trace N gas losses and N mineralization in an intact Mojave Desert ecosystem with elevated CO2" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 34. 1777-1784.
  • Schaeffer, S. M., S. A. Billings, and R. D. Evans. 2003. "Responses of nitrogen dynamics in an intact Mojave Desert ecosystem to manipulations in soil carbon and nitrogen availability" Oecologia. 134. 547-553.
  • Billings, S. A., S. M. Schaeffer, and R. D. Evans. 2003. "Nitrogen fixation by biological soil crusts and free-living bacteria in an intact Mojave Desert ecosystem with elevated CO2 and added soil carbon" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 35. 643-649.
  • Billings, S. A., S. Zitzer, H. Weatherley, S. M. Schaeffer, T. Charlet, J. Arnone, and R. D. Evans. 2003. "Effects of elevated CO2 on green tissue and litter quality in an intact Mojave Desert ecosystem" Global Change Biology. 5. 729-735.
  • Yarie, J. and S. A. Billings. 2002. "Carbon balance of the taiga forest within Alaska: present and future" Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 32. 757-767.
  • Billings, S. A., S. M. Schaeffer, S. Zitzer, T. Charlet, S. D. Smith, and R. D. Evans. 2002. "Alterations of nitrogen dynamics under elevated CO2 in an intact Mojave Desert ecosystem: evidence from δ15N" Oecologia. 131. 463-467.
  • Billings, S. A., D. d. Richter, and J. Yarie. 2000. "Sensitivity of soil methane fluxes to an altered precipitation regime in boreal forest soils" Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 32. 1431-1441.
  • Billings, S. A., D. d. Richter, and J. Yarie. 1998. "Soil carbon dioxide fluxes and profile concentrations in two boreal forests" Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 28. 1773-1783.

    One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
    26 prestigious Rhodes Scholars — more than all other Kansas colleges combined
    Nearly $290 million in financial aid annually
    1 of 9 public universities with outstanding study abroad programs.
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    46 nationally ranked graduate programs.
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    Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
    —ALA
    $275 million in externally funded research expenditures
    23rd nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets," Military Times