Our research team

Dr. Alain F. Plante

Dr. Alain F. Plante


I hold a BSc(Eng) in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph (1994), a Masters in Soil Science from the University of Guelph (1996), and a PhD in Soil Science from the University of Alberta (2001) – all in Canada. I postdoc’ed at the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique (INRA) in Versailles, France and the Natural Resource Ecology Lab (NREL) at Colorado State University.

My research interests lie in the fields of soil science and terrestrial carbon biogeochemistry. I am interested in the mechanisms and process that act to stabilize and destabilize organic carbon in surface soils, and the links between the soil carbon balance and the broader global carbon cycle.

See my complete publication list at: Google ScholarResearchGate or ORCID.


Graduate students

Maura Slocum

Maura Slocum

Ph.D. Candidate

Anthropogenic Dark Earths

Undergraduate students

Jazmine Rud

Jazmine Rud

Hayden Undergradaute Research Fellow

Owen Frausto

Owen Frausto

VIPER Undergraduate Research Assistant



Lorraina Rojas

Hayden Scholar (Sumer 2021), Undergraduate research assistant (Fall 2019-Spring 2020), Senior Thesis mentee (Spring 2022)

Alluvial coal silt and heavy metal pollution of Schuylkill River floodplain

Michelle Nguyen

Undergraduate research assistant (Spring, Summer 2021)

Dr. Elizabeth Williams

Postdoctoral researcher (Fall 2016 - Spring 2020)

Melissa Tanaka

PURM-Velay Undergrad Research Fellow (Summer 2019)

Ryan Lam

Hayden Scholar (Summer 2019)

Staci Bell

Undergraduate research assistant (Fall 2018-Spring 2019)

Hannah Sanders

Undergrad research assistant, Senior thesis mentee (Fall 2018-Spring 2019)

Dissolved carbon from biochar and soil leaching

Nicole Posadas

Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2018)

Kyle Wilson

Hayden Scholar (Summer 2018), Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2018)

Haiqing Chen

Visiting Associate Professor, China Agricultural University, Beijing (2017-2018)

Ming Sheng Fan

Visiting Associate Professor, China Agricultural University, Beijing (2017-2018)

Gabriel Benitez

Undergrad research assistant, University of Minnesota (Summer 2018)

Geogenic carbon in anthropogenic soils from central Pennsylvania

Tierra Moore

Masters student

Soil organic matter characterization by thermal analysis, and investigation of soil organic matter in African Dark Earths.

Madison Bell-Rosof

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2017), Senior thesis mentee (Fall 2017-Spring 2018)

Elizabeth Coward

PhD (Fall 2013-Summer 2017)

Iron-carbon associations in tropical soils of the Luquillo Critical Zone Observatory.

D. Brian Rogers

Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2016, Spring 2017)

Dr. Kathryn Clark

Postdoctoral researcher (Fall 2015-Fall 2017)

Maddie Tilyou

Velay Fellow (Summer 2016), Undergraduate research assistant, (Fall 2016)

Bing Xu

PhD (Fall 2011-Spring 2016)

Forest biomass and soil carbon stock changes in the Delaware River basin

Ludovic Foti

PhD student, UPMC - iEES Paris (Spring 2016)

Mayra Nunez

Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2015-Spring 2016)

Michelle Pereira

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2015-Fall 2015)

Heather Silver

Undergrad research assistant (Spring 2015-Summer 2015)

Maddie Stone

PhD (Fall 2010-Fall 2014)

Soil microbial communities and soil organic matter: Composition and ecological functions in the Luquillo Critical Zone

Emily Traxler

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2014)

Ashley Crespo

Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2013-Fall 2014)

Princess Lydia Ali

Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2011-Summer 2013)

David Lai

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2013)

Clement Peltre

Postdoctoral researcher (Fall 2011-Fall 2012)

Catharine Haak

Undergrad research assistant (Summer-Fall 2012)

Jonathan Urban

Undergrad research assistant (Summer-Fall 2012)

Kathy Zhou

Penn Undergraduate Research Mentorship Fellow (Summer 2012)

Wenting Feng

PhD (Fall 2008-Summer 2012)

Testing the soil carbon saturation theory: Maximal carbon stabilization and stability as a function of organic carbon inputs

Anarmaa Sharkhuu

PhD (Fall 2008-Fall 2012)

Soil Ecosystem Responses to Climate Change and Land-Use Simulations and Estimation of Carbon Stocks in Steepe and Forest Ecosystems in Northern Mongolia

Jose Manuel Fernandez

Postdoctoral researcher (Fall 2007-Summer 2011)

Estelle Ancelet

Research technician (Summer 2011)

Elizabeth Wordell

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2010-Summer 2011)

Nadezda Vasilyeva

Visitor - Postdoctoral researcher (Summer 2010)

Claire-Marie Gherardi

Visitor - Masters student (Summer 2011)

Stephanie Scott

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2009-Spring 2010)

Ioana Aron

Undergrad research assistant (Spring 2009)

Chukuemeka Oje

Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2008-Spring 2009)

Amanda Conover

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2008)

Leah Yudin

Undergrad research assistant (Summer 2008)

Inigo Virto

Visitor - Postdoctoral researcher (Fall 2007)

Marianne O’Brien

Undergrad research assistant (Fall 2007)

Aslihan Sen

NSF REU undergrad research assistant (Summer 2007)

Charlie Slominski

Penn Undergraduate Research Mentorship Fellow (Summer 2007)