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Office Hours:
Office Location: 
Hayden 158

Alain F. Plante

Associate Professor
Undergraduate Chair


  • Ph.D. (2001) – Soil Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton AB, Canada
  • M.Sc.(1996) – Soil Science, University of Guelph, Guelph ON, Canada
  • B.Sc.(Eng.) (1994) – Environmental Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph ON, Canada 

Research Interests

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

Selected Publications

See complete pulbicaton list at Google Scholar, ResearchGate or ORCID.

  • Stone MM and AF Plante. 2015. Relating the biological stability of soil organic matter to energy availability in deep tropical soil profiles. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 89:162-171.
  • Marin-Spiotta E, NT Chaopricha, AF Plante, AF Defendorf, CW Mueller, AS Grandy and JA Mason. 2014. Rapid climate change leads to long-term stabilization of soil carbon by fire and burial. Nature Geoscience. 7(6):428-432.
  • Plante AF, SR Beaupre, ML Roberts and T Baisden. 2013. Distribution of radiocarbon ages in soil organic matter by thermal fractionation. Radiocarbon. 55(2-3):1077-1083.
  • Feng W, AF Plante and J Six. 2013. Improving estimates of maximal organic carbon stabilization by fine soil particles. Biogeochemistry. 112:81-93.
  • Fernández JM, C Peltre, JM Craine and AF Plante. 2012. Improved characterization of soil organic matter by thermal analysis using CO2/H20 evolved gas analysis. Environmental Science & Technology. 46:8921-8927

Courses Taught

  • ENVS100: Introduction to Environmental Science (Spring, every year)
  • ENVS400: The Anthropocene: A Human-Dominated Earth (Spring, odd years)
  • GEOL421/541: Biogeochemistry: Elemental Cycling in Global Earth Systems (Fall, odd years)
  • GEOL411: Soil Science (Fall, even years)
  • GEOL511: Advanced Soil Science (Spring, odd years)
  • GEOL611: Field Study of Soils (Summer I)


Biology Graduate Group, University of Pennsylvania 

Department of Earth and Environmental Science / University of Pennsylvania, 251 Hayden Hall, 240 South 33rd Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6316