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Department of Geography Soil Science and Biogeochemistry

Avni Malhotra
Avni Malhotra, Dr.
Senior scientist

Soil Science and Biogeochemistry

Room number: extern

Research Interests

global change | peatlands | soil carbon | roots | plant traits | greenhouse gas fluxes | wetlands | permafrost

Publications (recent highlights)

Please see my Google Scholar page for a detailed list

Fluet-Chouinard, E., Stocker, B.D., Zhang, Z., Malhotra A., et al. (2023) Extensive global wetland loss over the past three centuries. Nature 614, 281–286.

Ofiti, N. O. E., Solly, E. F., Hanson, P. J., Malhotra, A., Wiesenberg, G. L. B., & Schmidt, M. W. I. (2022). Warming and elevated CO2 promote rapid incorporation and degradation of plant-derived organic matter in an ombrotrophic peatland. Global Change Biology, 28, 883– 898.

Pellegrini A., Harden J., Georgiou K., Hemes K.S., Malhotra A., Nolan C.J., Jackson R.B. (2022) Fire effects on the persistence of soil organic matter and long-term carbon storage. Nature Geoscience 15 (1) 5-3

Schiedung, M., Bellè, S.-V., Malhotra, A., & Abivien, S. (2022). Organic carbon  stocks,  quality  and  prediction  in  permafrost-affected forest  soils  in  North  Canada. Catena, 213,  106194.

Georgiou, K., Malhotra, A., Wieder, W.R. et al. (2021) Divergent controls of soil organic carbon between observations and process-based models. Biogeochemistry 156, 5–17

Delwiche, K. B., Knox, S. H., Malhotra, et al. (2021) FLUXNET-CH4: a global, multi-ecosystem dataset and analysis of methane seasonality from freshwater wetlands , Earth Syst. Sci. Data, 13, 3607–3689,

Malhotra A, Brice D, Childs J, Graham JD, Hobbie EA, Vander Stel H, Feron SC, Hanson PJ, Iversen CM (2020) Peatland warming strongly increases fine-root growth. PNAS.117:30, 17627-1763410
Highlighted in Sugden A.M. (2020) Shrubification of Peatlands. Science, 369-6503; 520-521

Malhotra A, Todd-Brown K, Nave LE, Batjes NH, Holmquist JR, Hoyt AM, Iversen CM, Jackson RB,Lajtha K, Lawrence C, Vindušková O, Wieder W, Williams M, Hugelius G, Harden JW (2019) The landscape of soil carbon data: emerging questions, synergies and databases. Progress in Physical Geography 43: 5, 707-719 

Delwiche KB, SH Knox, A Malhotra, and 111 others. FLUXNET-CH4: A global, multi-ecosystem database and analysis of methane seasonality from freshwater wetlands. Earth System Science Data (in press) doi: 10.5194/essd-2020-307

Billings SA,  Lajtha K, A Malhotra, AA Berhe, M-A de Graaff, S. Earl, J Fraterrigo, K Georgiou, S Grandy, SE Hobbie, JAM Moore, K Nadelhoffer, D Pierson , C. Rasmussen, WL Silver, BN Sulman, S Weintraub, W Wieder (2021) Soil organic carbon is not just for soil scientists: Measurement recommendations for diverse practitioners. Ecological Applications. 00( 00):e02290. 10.1002/eap.2290

Tumber-Dávila SJ and Malhotra A. (2020) Fast plants in deep water: introducing the whole-soil column perspective New Phytologist 225: 1, 7-9

Synergistic Activities

  • International Soil Carbon Network, Coordinator
  • AmeriFlux Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee,  Cochair (2021-present)
  • American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting Program Committee, Chair (2018-2021)
  • Acquired funding for, led and organized the following workshops:
    • ‘Leveraging big soil data to address soil health questions’. Tilden Hotel, San Francisco, December 9, 2019
    • ‘Linking root traits and soil carbon on a global scale’ at the Climate Change Science Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, July 2018, Read Eos meeting report here.

Student Advising


Plant above and belowground traits as predictors of peatland carbon function
(PhD, Tiia Määttä)

Quantifying root litter carbon cycling in degraded peat soils
(Masters student, Nadja Hertel)

Vegetation-soil/water relations in raised bog areas of different degradation stages
(Masters student, Melina Bucher)


The role of root traits in CH4 fluxes from rice cultivation in degraded peat soil
(Masters student, Nisha Sriskandarajah)

Boreal peatland fine root responses to climate change: a synthesis
(Bachelors thesis, Melina Bucher)