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Michael Matiasek

mike_matiasekGraduate Student

530-752-0146 (lab)

3243 Plant and Environmental Sciences


BA, Biochemistry, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2000

Research Projects

Nitrous oxide (N2O) has been identified as the third major greenhouse gas and it is therefore of great importance to understand its sources.  Agricultural activities have been attributed to as much as 70% of the annual N2O emissions. The objective of my projects  are to investigate the relationship between N2O emissions from agricultural soils and the ecology of the bacteria that can produce it.  Nitrification, the oxidation of ammonium to nitrate, and denitrification, the reduction of nitrate to dinitrogen, are the two main processes that are known to produce nitrous oxide in the environment.  However, denitrification is often thought of as the dominant source of N2O in agricultural soils. We are currently studying two different field sites, and almond orchard and a table grape vineyard, that have been shown to produce N2O after fertilization. In order to determine the abundance of the denitrifier community we use quantitative(Q)PCR to quantify the copies of denitrification functional genes directly in environmental samples.  We also characterize the diversity of these genes by cloning and sequencing.  One of our goals will be to correlate this denitrifier community profile with N2O fluxes denitrification potential.  In addition we would like to use the ratio of the denitrificaiton genes that produce nitrous oxide (nitriate reductase) over the ones the consume it (nitrous oxide reductase) to predict nitrous oxide fluxes.

Research Interests

microbial ecology, nitrogen cycling, and sustainable agriculture

Awesome classes new students must take

MIC105 – Microbial Diversity
MIC140 – Bacterial Physiology


Rock Climbing, Cycling, Gardening, and Homebrewing Beer