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Office Hours:
Office Location: 
Hayden 158

Alain F. Plante

Undergraduate Chair & Associate Professor


  • 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

  • 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

More details at Google Scholar.

Courses Taught

  • ENVS200: Introduction to Environmental Earth Science (Fall, 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