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Preparing passionate leaders driving change in sustainability and stewardship of the environment.

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Dr. Seeta Sistla

Dr. Sistla (photo by Chris Linder)Dr. Seeta Sistla

Phone: (805) 756-2059

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Dr. Sistla's Areas of Focus

Soil and Ecosystem Ecology · Terrestrial Carbon and Nutrient Cycling · Carbon and Nitrogen Cycling in Soils · Global Environmental Change

About Dr. Seeta Sistla

Seeta Sistla joined the NRES Department as our Soil Ecologist in 2019. Seeta received an MA in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the Brown University joint program with the Marine Biological Laboratory, PhD in Ecology from the University of California, Santa Barbara supported by a DOE Global Change Program Fellowship and completed a NOAA Climate & Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to joining Cal Poly, she was on the faculty at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA.

Seeta's research and teaching interests focus on understanding how terrestrial systems respond to environmental and management changes through coupled plant-soil-microbial interactions and how these responses can feedback to affect terrestrial processes like carbon sequestration and plant productivity. Specifically, Seeta studies how factors such as agricultural land use, nutrient enrichment, and climate warming affect plant-soil processes in natural and managed settings in a variety of land systems, from the Arctic to the tropics. In addition to combining field, laboratory, and modeling approaches to understanding terrestrial systems, Seeta also collaborates with social scientists to more deeply consider the feedbacks between human activities and ecosystems in an era of unprecedented change.

Dr. Sistla encourages inquiries into undergraduate and graduate research projects particularly related to soil ecology in California agricultural systems and the Alaskan arctic.

Please see more about her work here:

Selected Publications

Hu, Yan-Yu, S. Sistla, H.-W. Wei, Z. Zhang, S.-L. Hou, J. Yang, Z. Wang, J.-F. Wang, X.-T. Lü. Legacy effects of nitrogen deposition on plant stoichiometry in a temperate grassland. Functional Ecology (In review).

Pold, G., S. Sistla, K. DeAngelis. Metabolic tradeoffs and heterogeneity in microbial responses to temperature determine the fate of litter carbon in a warmer world. Biogeosciences Discussion (In review).

Sistla, S., S. Schaeffer, J. Schimel. 2019. Plant community regulates soil microbial response to freezing more strongly than the rate or intensity of the freezing process. Ecosphere 10(2), 1 -14.

Fawcett, S., S. Sistla, M. Dacosta-Calheiros, A. Kahraman, A. Reznicek, R. Rosenberg*, E. von Wettberg. 2019. Tracking microhabitat temperature variation with iButton dataloggers. Applications in Plant Sciences 4 (e1237) 1 - 12.

Kramer, D., K. Stevens, N.E. Williams, S. Sistla, A. Roddy, G. Urquhart. Coastal livelihood transitions and their trans-ecosystem implications in a region undergoing rapid globalization. 2017. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0186683.

Hou, S.-L., J.X. Yin, S. Sistla, J.J. Yang, Y. Sun, Y.Y. Li, X.T. Lü. Long-term mowing did not alter the impacts of nitrogen deposition on litter quality in a temperate steppe. Ecological Engineering 102:404-410.

Crowther, T., et al. 2016. Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming. Nature. 540(7631):104-108.

Sistla, S., A, Roddy, N. E. Williams, D. Kramer, K. Stevens, S. Allison. 2016. Agroforestry practices promote biodiversity and natural resource diversity in Atlantic Nicaragua. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0162529.

Wang, X., S. Sistla, X. Wang, X. Han, X. Lü. 2016. Carbon and nitrogen contents in particle-size fractions of topsoil along a 3000 km aridity gradient in northern China. Biogeosciences 13: 3635–3646.

Spasojevic, M., C. Bahlai, B. Bradley, B. Butterfield, M.N. Tuanmu, S. Sistla, R. Wiederholt,

K. Suding. 2016. Scaling up the diversity–resilience relationship with trait databases and remote sensing data: the recovery of productivity after wildfire. Global Change Biology 22: 1421–1432.

Sistla, S., A. Appling, A. Lewandowska, B. Taylor, A. Wolf. 2015. Stoichiometric Flexibility in Response to Fertilization along Gradients of Environmental and Organismal Nutrient Richness. Oikos doi: 10.1111/oik.02385.

Han, X., S. Sistla, X. Lü, Y. Zhang, X.G. Han. 2014. Hierarchical responses of plant stoichiometry to nitrogen deposition and mowing in a temperate steppe. Plant and Soil 382: 175 – 187.

Sistla, S., E. Rastetter, J. Schimel. 2014. Responses of a tundra system to warming using SCAMPS: A stoichiometrically coupled, acclimating microbe-plant-soil model. Ecological Monographs 84 (1): 151 – 170.

Sistla, S. and J. Schimel. 2013. Seasonal patterns of microbial extracellular enzyme activities in an arctic tundra soil: Identifying direct and indirect effects of long-term summer warming. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 66: 119 – 129.

Sistla, S., J. Moore, R. Simpson, L. Gough, G. Shaver, J. Schimel. Long-term warming restructures arctic tundra without changing net soil carbon storage. 2013. Nature 497 (7451): 615 – 18.

Sistla, S. and J. Schimel. 2012. Stoichiometric flexibility as a regulator of carbon and nutrient cycling in terrestrial ecosystems under change. New Phytologist 96 (1): 68 – 78.

Sistla, S., S. Asao, J.P. Schimel. 2012. Microbial N-limitation in tundra soil and its detection: Implications for Arctic SOC cycling. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 55: 78 – 84.

Gutiérrez, N., S. Valencia, T. Branch, D. Agnew, A. Stern-Pirlot, A. Smith, C. Ninnes, R. Selden, J. Thorson, T. Essington, C. Costello, D. Hoggarth, P. Bianchi, S. Sistla, J. Cornejo, A. Larsen, S. Teck, O. Defeo, K. Sainsbury, R. Hilborn, K.. Baum, N. Williams. Eco-labels: A reliable indicator of stock status for seafood consumers. 2012. PLoS ONE 7(8): e43765.

Viola, D., E. Mordecai, A. Jaramillo, S. Sistla, L. Albertson, J. Gosnell, B. Cardinale, J. Levine. 2010. Competition-defense tradeoffs and the maintenance of plant diversity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 107 (40): 17217 – 17222.

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