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John Stark

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Biogeochemistry, Soil Microbiology and Microbial Ecology

Professor - Biology Department | Ecology Center


Contact Information

Office Location: VSB 331
DialPhone: 435-797-3518

Educational Background

PhD, Soil Microbiology, University of California, Berkeley, 1991
MS, Range Biology, Colorado State University, 1983
BA, Botany, Humboldt State University, 1981
BS, Range Management, Humboldt State University, 1981

Teaching Interests

General Microbiology, Soil Microbiology, and Biogeochemistry of Terrestrial Ecosystems

Research Interests

Microbial controls on C & N-cycling in natural ecosystems; trace gas production by soil microorganisms; vegetation-microbial community interactions; ecology of ammonia-oxidizing bacteria.


Graduate Student Mentor of the Year, 2013

Department of Biology

    Publications - Books & Book Chapters

      Book Chapters

    • Germino, M.J, Belnap, J., Stark, J.M, Allen, E.B, Rau, B.M, (2015). Ecosystem impacts of exotic annual invaders in the genus Bromus: Exotic brome-grasses in arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the Wester US: Causes, consequences, and management implications. Springer
    • Belnap, J., Stark, J.M, Rau, B.J, Allen, E.B, Phillips, S.L, (2015). Soil moisture and biogeochemical factors influence the distribution of annual Bromus species: Exotic brome-grasses in arid and semi-arid ecosystems of the Wester US: Causes, consequences, and management implications. Springer
    • Norton, J.M, Stark, J.M, (2011). Regulation and measurement of nitrification in terrestrial systems: Methods in Enzymology. Elsevier, Methods in Enzymology
    • Stark, J.M, (2000). Nutrient Transformations. In: O.E. Sala, R.B. Jackson, H.A. Mooney, and R. Howarth (eds.), Methods in Ecosystem Science
    • Stark, J.M, (1999). Effects of disturbance on microbial activity and N-cycling in forest and shrubland ecosystems. In: Meurisse, R.T., et al (eds.). Soil Organisms in Pacific Northwest Forest and Rangeland Ecosystems *
    • Stark, J.M, (1994). Causes of soil nutrient heterogeneity at different scales. In: M.M Caldwell and R. Pearcy (eds.): Exploitation of Environmental Heterogeneity by Plants: Ecophysiological Processes Above and Below Ground

    * Has not been peer reviewed

    Publications - Fact Sheets

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      Publications - Curriculum

        * Has not been peer reviewed

        Publications - Journal Articles

          Academic Journal

        • Kulmatiski, A., Adler, P., Stark, J.M, Tredennik, A.T, Water and nitrogen uptake are better associated with resource availability than root biomass. Ecosphere
        • Hall, S.J, Baker, M.A, Jones, S.B, Stark, J.M, Bowling, D.R, (2016). Contrasting soil nitrogen dynamics across a montane meadow and urban lawn in a semi-arid watershed. Urban Ecosystems, doi: 10.1007/s11252-016-0538-0
        • Ouyang, Y., Norton, J.M, Stark, J.M, Reeve, J., Habteselassie, M.Y, (2016). Ammonia-oxidizing bacteria are more responsive than archaea to nitrogen source in an agricultural soil.. Soil Biology and Biochemistry/Elsevier, 96, 4-15. doi:
        • Morris, K.A, Stark, J.M, Bugbee, B.G, Norton, J.M, (2016). The invasive annual cheatgrass releases more nitrogen than crested wheatgrass through root exudation and senescence. Oecologia, doi: DOI 10.1007/s00442-015-3544-7
        • Cardon, Z.G, Stark, J.M, Herron, P.M, Rasmussen, J., (2013). Sagebrush carrying out hydraulic lift enhances surface soil nitrogen cycling and nitrogen uptake into inflorescences. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, 110:47, 18988-18993.
        • Hooker, T.D, Stark, J.M, (2012). Carbon flow from plant detritus and soil organic matter to microbes—Linking carbon and nitrogen cycling in semiarid soils. Soil Science Society America Journal, 76, 903-914.
        • Norton, U., Saetre, P., Hooker, T., Stark, J.M, (2012). Vegetation and moisture controls on soil C mineralization in semi-arid environments. Soil Science Society America Journal, 76, 1038-1047.
        • Huang, T., Sun, L., Stark, J.M, Wang, Y., Cheng, Z., Yang, Q., Sun, S., (2011). Relative changes in krill abundance inferred from Antarctic fur seal. PLoS ONE , 6:11
        • Koper, T.E, Stark, J.M, Habteselassie, M.Y, Norton, J.M, (2010). Nitrification exhibits Haldane kinetics in an agricultural soil treated with ammonium sulfate or dairy waste compost. . FEMS Microbial Ecology, Federation of European Microbiological Societies, Blackwell Publishing Ltd, 74, 316-322. doi: DOI:10.1111/j.1574-6941.2010.00960.x
        • Herron, P.M, Stark, J.M, Holt, C.T, Hooker, T.D, Cardon, Z.G, (2009). Microbial growth efficiencies across a soil moisture gradient assessed using 13C-acetic acid vapor and 15N-ammonia gas. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 41, 1262-1269.
        • Hooker, T.D, Stark, J.M, (2008). Soil C and N cycling in three semiarid vegetation types: Response to an in situ pulse of plant detritus. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 40, 2678-2685.
        • Hooker, T.D, Stark, J.M, Norton, U., Leffler, A.J, Peek, M., Ryel, R.J, (2008). Distribution of ecosystem C and N within contrasting vegetation types in a semiarid rangeland in the Great Basin, USA. Biogeochemistry, 90, 291-308.
        • Leonard, E.D, Monaco, T.A, Stark, J.M, Ryel, R.J, (2008). Invasive forb, annual grass, and exotic shrub competition with three sagebrush-steppe growth forms: Acquisition of a spring 15N tracer. Invasive Plant Science & Management, 1, 168-177.
        • Habteselassie, M.Y, Miller, B., Thacker, S.G, Stark, J.M, Norton, J.M, (2006). Soil Nitrogen and Nutrient Dynamics after Repeated Application of Treated Dairy-waste. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 70, 1328-1337.
        • Stark, J.M, (2006). Gross nitrogen transformations in an agricultural soil after repeated dairy-waste application. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 70, 1338-1348.
        • Kulmatiski, A., Beard, K.H, Stark, J.M, (2006). Exotic plant communities shift water-use timing in a shrub-steppe ecosystem. Plant & Soil, 288, 271-284.
        • Kulmatiski, A., Beard, K.H, Stark, J.M, (2006). Soil history as a primary control on plant invasion in abandoned agricultural fields. J Applied Ecology, 43, 868-876.
        • Booth, M.S, Stark, J.M, Hart, S.C, (2006). Soil mixing effects on inorganic nitrogen production and consumption in forest and shrubland soils. Plant & Soil, 289, 15-May.
        • Habteselassie, M.Y, Stark, J.M, Miller, B., Thacker, S., Norton, J.M, (2006). Soil nitrogen and nutrient dynamics after repeated application of treated dairy-waste. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J., 70, 1328-1337.
        • Selmants, P.C, Hart, S.C, Boyle, S.I, Stark, J.M, (2005). Red alder (Alnus rubra) alters community-level soil microbial function in conifer forests of the Pacific Northwest, USA. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 37, 1860-1868.
        • Booth, M.S, Stark, J.M, Rastetter, E., (2005). Controls on nitrogen cycling in terrestrial ecosystems: A synthetic analysis of literature data. Ecological Monographs, 75, 139-157.
        • Morris, A.E, Stark, J.M, Gilbert, B.K, (2005). Evaluation of isotopic fractionation error on calculations of marine-derived nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems. Canadian J. Forest Research, 35, 1604-1616.
        • Saetre, P., Stark, J.M, (2005). Microbial dynamics and carbon and nitrogen cycling following rewetting of two dry semiarid soils. Oecologia, 142, 247-260.
        • Kulmatiski, A., Beard, K.H, Stark, J.M, (2004). Finding endemic soil-based controls on weed growth. Weed Technology, 18, 115-120.
        • Austin, A., Yahdjian, M.L, Stark, J.M, Belnap, J., Porporato, A., Burke, I.C, Choromanska, U., Ravetta, D., Schaeffer, S.M, (2004). Water pulses and biogeochemical cycles in arid and semiarid ecosystems. Oecologia, 141, 221-235.
        • Booth, M.S, Stark, J.M, Caldwell, M.M, (2003). Inorganic N turnover and availability in annual- and perennial-dominated soils in a northern Utah shrub-steppe ecosystem. Biogeochemistry, 66, 311-330.
        • Booth, M.S, Caldwell, M.M, Stark, J.M, (2003). Overlapping resource use in three Great Basin species: Implications for community invasibility and vegetation dynamics. Journal of Ecology, 91, 36-48.
        • Ivans, C.Y, Leffler, A.J, Spaulding, U., Stark, J.M, Ryel, R.J, Caldwell, M.M, (2003). Root responses and nitrogen acquisition by Artemisia tridentata and Agropyron desertorum following small summer rainfall events. Oecologia, 134, 317-324.
        • Stark, J.M, Hart, S.C, (2003). UV-B radiation and soil microbial communities. Nature, 423, 137-138.
        • Haubensak, K.A, Hart, S.C, Stark, J.M, (2002). Influences of chloroform exposure time and soil water content on C and N release in forest soils. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 34, 1549-1562.
        • Stark, J.M, Smart, D.R, Hart, S.C, Haubensak, K.A, (2002). Regulation of nitric oxide emissions from forest and rangeland soils of western North America. Ecology, 83, 2278-2292.
        • Stark, J.M, Schimel, J., (2001). Errors in "Overestimation of gross N transformation rates in grassland soils...". Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 33, 1433-1435.
        • Chen, J., Stark, J.M, (2000). Plant species effects and carbon and nitrogen cycling in a sagebrush-crested wheatgrass soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry, 32, 47-57.
        • Stark, J.M, (1999). Resource limitations to nitric oxide emissions from a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem. Biogeochemistry, 47, 63-86.
        • Stark, J.M, Smart, D., Ritchie, K., Bugbee, B.G, (1997). Evidence that Elevated C02 Levels and Indirectly Increase Rhizosphere Denitrifier Activity. 63, 4621.
        • Smart, D.R, Ritchie, K., Stark, J.M, Bugbee, B.G, (1997). Evidence that elevated CO2 levels can indirectly increase rhizosphere denitrifier activity.. Applied and environmental microbiology, 63:11, 4621–4624.
        • Smart, D.R, Ritchie, K., Stark, J.M, Bugbee, B.G, (1997). Evidence that elevated CO2 levels can indirectly increase rhizosphere denitrifier activity.. Applied and environmental microbiology, 63:11, 4621-4.
        • Stark, J.M, (1997). Effects of soil osmotic potential on nitrification, ammonification, N-assimilation, and nitrous oxide production.. Soil Science, 162, 16-27.
        • Stark, J.M, (1997). Nitrogen limitation of the microbial biomass in an old-growth forest soil. Ecoscience, 4, 91-98.
        • Stark, J.M, Hart, S.C, (1997). High rates of nitrification and nitrate turnover in undisturbed coniferous forests. Nature, 385, 61-64.
        • Stark, J.M, (1996). Diffusion technique for preparing salt solutions, Kjeldahl digests, and persulfate digests for nitrogen-15 analysis. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 60(6):1846-1855
        • Stark, J.M, (1996). Kinetic characteristics of ammonium-oxidizer communities in a California oak woodland-annual grassland. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 28:1307-1317
        • Stark, J.M, (1996). Modeling the temperature response of nitrification. Biogeochemistry 35:433-445
        • Stark, J.M, (1996). Shaker speeds for aerobic soil slurry incubations. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 27:2625-2631
        • Stark, J.M, (1995). Isotopic labeling of soil nitrate pools using 15N-nitric oxide gas. Soil Sci. Soc. of Am. J. 59:844-84
        • Stark, J.M, (1995). Mechanisms for soil moisture effects on activity of nitrifying bacteria. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 61:218-221
        • Professional Journal

        * Has not been peer reviewed

        Publications - Literary Journal

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          Publications - MultiMedia

            * Has not been peer reviewed

            Publications - Technical Reports

              * Has not been peer reviewed

              Publications - Translations & Transcripts

                Publications - Other


                • Stark, J.M, (1995). The effect of osmotic potential on ammonification, immobilization, nitrification and nitrous oxide production rates in soil. M.S. Thesis, Utah State University, Logan *

                * Has not been peer reviewed

                Scheduled Teaching