Cynthia Kallenbach

Assistant Professor

514-398-8640  |  Macdonald-Stewart Building, MS2-064 |  cynthia.kallenbach [at] (Email)  |  Website  | @cynthiakallenba


PhD Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of New Hampshire, 2015
MSc Soil Biogeochemistry, UC Davis California, 2008
MSc International Agriculture Development, UC Davis California, 2007
BSc Geography, Sonoma State University California, 2001

Short Bio

Cynthia Kallenbach joined McGill’s Department of Natural Resource Sciences as an Assistant Professor in 2018. Her research integrates soil ecology and biogeochemistry to understand soil organic matter turnover and accumulation and microbial-plant interactions affecting carbon and nutrient cycling under land use and global change. She received her BSc degree (Geography) from Sonoma State University, California. She earned two MSc at University of California-Davis in International Agriculture Development and in Soil Biogeochemistry, and her PhD from the University of New Hampshire in Earth and Environmental Science. Before coming to McGill, she was a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) postdoctoral fellow at Colorado State University.

Awards and Recognitions

2015 USDA Post-Doctoral Fellow
2013 USDA Pre-Doctoral Fellowship
2012 Francis and Evelyn Clark Soil Biology Fellowship

Active Affiliation

Review board - Biogeochemistry

Research Interests

Kallenbach’s research program focuses on identifying and explaining the fundamental ecological and biogeochemical processes that characterize soil carbon and nutrient cycling, especially under managed ecosystems such as croplands. How soil microbial communities effect plant litter decomposition dynamics and rhizosphere processes, their influences on soil organic matter formation and stabilization, and microbial functional responses to agricultural management and global change are specifically considered. The program uses an integrated approach, combining lab, greenhouse, and field-based studies with advanced analytical measurements (molecular microbiology, stable isotopes, and molecular chemical fingerprinting). Knowledge gained is used to help inform the development of agricultural management scenarios that are both environmentally sustainable and productive.

Current Research

1) Evaluating the impacts of drought in short and tall grass prairies on soil microbial diversity, microbial functional responses, and soil carbon dynamics

2) Characterizing and identifying differences in wheat root exudation chemical profiles and quantities between drought-tolerant and drought-susceptible wheat genotypes

3) Microbial community compositional and nitrogen cycling responses in wheat genotypes differing in below ground carbon allocation

4) Identifying key microbial groups and their functional traits that influence soil organic matter chemistry and accumulation under different selection environments


ENVB 210 The Biophysical Environment 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer

SOIL 535 Ecological Soil Management 3 Credits
    Offered in the:
  • Fall
  • Winter
  • Summer


View a list of current publications

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