Krista McGuire

Assistant Professor of Biology

Krista McGuire, Assistant Professor of Biology, joined Barnard’s faculty in 2009. Her primary research interests include determining the factors that structure microbial communities, how mycorrhizal fungi influence plant community structure, the impacts of global change on microbes, and tropical ecology. She has spent a significant amount of time studying microbes in the tropical rain forests of Central and South America, and currently leads projects in Malaysia, Puerto Rico, and on various components of green infrastructure in New York City.

Professor McGuire’s research is currently supported by the National Science Foundation. At Barnard she teaches courses on Microbiology and Tropical Ecology.

Academic Focus: 

Microbial ecology
Mycorrhizal fungi
Tropical forest ecology


Charlop-Powers, Z., Pregitzer, C., Lemetre, C., Ternei, M., Maniko, J., Hover, B., Calle, P., McGuire, K.L., Garbarino, J., Progione, H., Carlop-Powers, S., Brady, S. Urban park soil microbiomes represent a rich reservoir of natural product biosynthetic diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, in press.

Bachelot, B., Uriarte, M., Zimmerman, J., Thompson, J., Leff, J.W., Asiaii, A., Koshner, J.,  McGuire, K.L. 2016. Long-lasting effects of land use history on soil fungal communities in second-growth tropical rain forests.  Ecological Applications, in press, DOI: 10.1890/15-1397.1.

Anderson, R.O., Lee, J.M., McGuire, K.L. 2016. Experimental evidence that fungi are dominant microbes in carbon content and growth response to added soluble organic carbon in moss-rich tundra soil. Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, in press, DOI: 10.1111/jeu.12286.

Reese, A.T., Savage, A., Youngsteadt, E., McGuire, K.L., Koling, A., Watkins, O., Frank, S.D., Dunn, R.R. 2016. Urban stress is associated with variation in microbial species composition-but not richness-in Manhattan. The ISME Journal 10:751-760.

Bachelot, B., Uriarte, M., McGuire, K.L. 2015. Interactions among mutualism, competition, and predation foster species coexistence in diverse communities. Theoretical Ecology 8(3):297-312.

Barberán, A. †, McGuire, K.L. †, Wolf, J.A., Jones, F.A., Wright, S.J., Turner, B.L., Essene, A., Hubbell, S.P., Faircloth, B.C., Fierer, N. 2015. Relating belowground microbial composition to the taxonomic, phylogenetic, and functional trait distributions of trees in a tropical forest. Ecology Letters 18:1397-1405.        

†co-first authors     

McGuire, K.L., D’Angelo, H., Brearley, F.Q., Gedallovich, S.M., Babar, N., Yang, N., Gillikin, C.M., Gradoville, R., Bateman, C., Turner, B.L., Mansor, P., Leff, J.W., Fierer, N. 2015. Responses of soil fungi to logging and oil palm agriculture in Southeast Asian tropical forests. Microbial Ecology 69:733-747.

Peay, K.G., Russo, S.E., McGuire, K.L., Lim, Z., Chan, J.P., Tan, S., Davies, S.J. 2015. Lack of host specificity leads to independent assortment of dipterocarps and ectomycorrhizal fungi across an edaphic gradient. Ecology Letters 18(8):807-816.

Wood, S.A, Almaraz, M., Bradford, M.A. McGuire, K.L., Naeem, S., Neill, C., Palm, C.A., Tully, K.L., Zhou, J. 2015. Farm management, not soil microbial diversity, controls nutrient loss from smallholder tropical agriculture. Frontiers in Microbiology 6:90.

Wood, S.A, Bradford, M.A., Gilbert, J., McGuire, K.L., Palm, C.A., Tully, K.L., Zhou, J., Naeem, S. 2015. Agricultural intensification and the functional capacity of soil microbes on smallholder African farms. Journal of Applied Ecology 52(3):744-752.

McGuire, K.L., Payne, S.G., Orazi, G., Palmer, M.I. 2015. Bacterial and fungal communities in green roof ecosystems. In: Sutton, R.K. (ed.) Green Roof Ecosystems. Springer. pg 175-192.

D’Angelo, H., McGuire, K.L., Gillikin, C.M., Merrer, D.C. 2015. Evaluating the impact of oil palm agriculture and logging on soil microbial communities. In: Brearley, F.Q., Thomas, A.D. (eds.) Evaluating the Impact of Oil Palm Agriculture and Logging on Soil Microbial Communities. CABI, U.K. pg 21-30.

Thomas, A.D., Corre, M.D., Schwendenmann, L., Veldkamp, E., Fujii, K., McGuire, K.L., Mkwambisi, D.D., Cheong, L.R.N., Powers, J.S., Brearley, F.Q. 2015. Land-use change impacts on soil processes in tropical and savannah ecosystems: emerging themes and future resaearch directions. In: Brearley, F.Q., Thomas, A.D. (eds.) Land-use Change Impacts on Soil Processes. CABI, U.K. pg 176-181.

Treseder, K.K., Maltz, M.R., Hawkins, B.A., Fierer, N., Stajich, J.E., McGuire, K.L. 2014. Evolutionary histories of fungi are related to their continental-scale biogeography. Ecology Letters 17(9):1086-93.

McGuire, K.L. 2014. The contribution of ectomycorrhizal fungal feedbacks to the maintenance of tropical monodominant rain forests. In: Ba, A.M., McGuire, K.L., Diédhiou, A.G. (eds.) Ectomycorrhizal Symbioses in Tropical and Neotropical Forests. CRC Press, Fl, pg 185-199.

Ba, A.M., McGuire, K.L., Diédhiou, A.G. (eds.) 2014. Ectomycorrhizal Symbioses in Tropical and Neotropical Forests. CRC Press, Fl, 300 pgs.

Treseder, K.K., Bent, E., Borneman, J., McGuire, K.L. 2013. Shifts in fungal communities during decomposition of boreal forest litter. Fungal Ecology 10:58-69.

Slik, J.W.F., Paoli, G., McGuire, K.L., Aiba, S., Amaral, I., Barroso, J.,Bastian, M., Blanc, L., Bongers, F., Boundja, P., Clark, C., Collins, M., Dauby, G., Ding, Y., Doucet, J., Eler, E., Ferreira, L., Forshed, O., Fredriksson, G., Gillet, J., Harris, D., Leal, M., Laumonier, Y., Malhi, Y., Mansor, A., Martin, E., Araujo-Murakami, A., Nagamasu, H., Nilus, R., Nurtjahya, E., Oliveira, A., Onrizal, Parada-Gutierrez, A., Permana, A., Poorter, L., Poulsen, J., Ramirez-Angulo, H., Reitsma, J., Rovero, F., Rozak, A., Sheil, D., Silva-Espejo, J., Silveira, M., Spironelo, W., ter Steege, H., Stevart, T., Aguilar, G.E.N., Sunderland, T., Suzuki, E., Tang, J., Theilade, I., van Valkenburg, J., Do, T.V., Vilanova, E., Vos, V., Wich, S., Wöll, H., Yoneda, T., Zang, R., Zhang, M., Zweifel, N. 2013. Variation in large tree density drives forest aboveground biomass variation in moist lowland forests across the tropics. Global Ecology and Biogeography 22(12):1261-1271.

McGuire, K.L., Allison, S.D., Fierer, N., Treseder, K.K. 2013. Ectomycorrhizal-dominated boreal and tropical forests have distinct fungal communities, but analogous spatial patterns across soil horizons. PLoS One 8(7):e68278.

McGuire, K.L., Payne, S.G., Palmer, M.I., Gillikin, C.M., Keefe, D., Kim, S.J., Gedallovich, S.M., Discenza, J., Rangamannar, R., Koshner, J.A., Massmann, A.L., Orazi, G., Essene, A., Leff, J.W., Fierer, N. 2013. Digging the New York City skyline: Soil fungal communities in green roofs and city parks. PLoS One 8(3):e58020.

Anderson, R.O., McGuire, K.L. 2013. C-biomass of bacteria, fungi, and protozoan communities in Arctic Tundra soil, including some trophic relationships. Acta Protozoologica 52:217-227.

McGuire, K.L., Fierer, N, Turner, B.L., Bateman, C., Treseder, K.K. 2012. Fungal community composition is more correlated with precipitation than tree diversity in a tropical rain forest. Microbial Ecology 63:804-812 (cover issue).

McGuire, K.L., Primack, R.B., Losos, E.C. 2012. Dramatic improvements and persistent challenges for women ecologists. Bioscience 62:189-196.

Lin, B.B., Chappell, M.J., Vandermeer, J., Smith, G., Quintero, E., Bezner-Kerr, R., Griffith, D.M., Ketcham, S., Latta, S.C., McMichael, P., McGuire, K.L., Nigh, R., Rocheleau, D., Soluri, J., Perfecto, I. 2011. Effects of industrial agriculture on climate change and the mitigation potential of small-scale agroecological farms. CAB Reviews 6:1-18.

Eller, A.S.D., McGuire, K.L., Sparks, J.P. 2011. Responses of sugar maple and hemlock seedlings to elevated carbon dioxide under altered above- and belowground nitrogen sources. Tree Physiology 31:391-401.

Allison, S.D., McGuire, K.L., Treseder, K.K. 2010. Resistance of microbial and soil properties to warming treatment seven years after boreal fire. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 42:1827-1878.

McGuire, K.L., Zak, D.R., Edwards, I.P., Blackwood, C.B., Upchurch, R. 2010. Slowed decomposition is biotically mediated in an ectomycorrhizal, tropical rain forest. Oecologia 164:785-795.

McGuire, K.L., Bent, E., Borneman, J., Majumder, A., Allison, S.D., Treseder, K.K. 2010. Functional diversity in resource use by fungi. Ecology 91:2324-2332.

Allison, S.D., Gartner, T.B., Mack, M.C., McGuire, K.L., Treseder, K.K. 2010. Nitrogen alters carbon dynamics during early succession in boreal forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 42:1157-1164.

McGuire, K.L., Treseder, K.K. 2010. Microbial communities and their relevance for ecosystem models: decomposition as a case study. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 42: 529-535.

McGuire, K.L. 2008. Ectomycorrhizal Associations Function to Maintain Tropical Monodominance. In: Siddiqui, Z.A., Akhtar, M.S., Futai, K. (eds) Mycorrhizae: Sustainable Agriculture and Forestry., Netherlands pg 287-302.

McGuire, K.L., Henkel, T.W., Granzow de la Cerda, I., Villa, G, Edmund, F., Andrew, C. 2008. Dual mycorrhizal colonization of forest-dominating tropical trees and the mycorrhizal status of non-dominant tree and liana species.  Mycorrhiza 18:217-222.

McGuire, K.L. 2007. Recruitment dynamics and ectomycorrhizal colonization of Dicymbe corymbosa, a monodominant tree in the Guiana Shield.  Journal of Tropical Ecology 23:297-307.

McGuire, K.L. 2007. The common ectomycorrhizal net may maintain monodominance in a tropical rain forest. Ecology 88:567-574.




BA, Muhlenberg College
Ph.D., University of Michigan

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In the News

Earth Day—Saturday, April 22—is more important than ever this year. As environmental protections are increasingly challenged or reduced, the Barnard community is enhancing sustainability efforts, working to reduce the effects of climate change, and creating scientifically based solutions to address environmental hazards.

Biology professor studies presence of fungi on New York City green roofs

As an expert in microbial ecology, Krista McGuire's research has taken her from the Guyana rain forest to Alaska's boreal forests. She studies the role of fungi in critical environmental issues such as global climate change, plant extinction, and deforestation. This year McGuire joins Barnard College as an assistant professor of biological sciences. "Barnard seemed like the perfect fit because it has a liberal arts curriculum, plus all the [research] resources of Columbia," she says. "It's kind of the best of all worlds."