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Congratulations, Christine!

Christine has been awarded tenure, and is now an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at Michigan State University.

Spring 2024 Announcements


Rachel Drobnak received the NSF GRFP for her research.

Christine Sprunger is a recipient for ESA Early Career Fellow on April 30th, 2024.

Check out this article about Christine Sprunger's new funding for KBS focusing on climate resilience and agriculture here.

We have two new members joining the lab! Andrew Wade has joined the lab as an undergraduate research assistant for the summer. Lisa Hargest is a new technician in the lab. Welcome, Andrew and Lisa!


SSSAJ paper spotlight on X 

The Soil Science Society of America Journal highlighted our lab's recent publication on ACE Protein and nitrogen cycling at the Kellogg Biological Station LTER site. There are some exciting results for ACE protein as a soil health indicator, in comparison to other nitrogen measurements and yield data over time and across the management intensity gradient. 


Special thanks to our postdoc, Katherine Naasko, for all of her hard work as first author on this paper!


Check out the Twitter post and read the paper here.


Welcome, Rachel!

The Sprunger Lab is pleased to welcome Rachel Drobnak. Rachel recently completed her bachelors in Crop and Soil Sciences from Michigan State University. Here at KBS, her research will aim to determine the impacts of prairie strips on soil health through analysis of soil food web structures, nematode communities, and a variety of soil health indicators in the LTAR/LTER field sites. We are very excited to have Rachel join us at KBS.


Collaborative Prairie Strip Study- Seed funding for sustainable agriculture collaborations

-Research is focused on examining how plantings of prairie grass strips impact pollinator populations and soil biodiversity in agricultural fields

-Sprunger lab will examine the efficacy of the ability of prairie strips to negate some of agriculture’s adverse effects on pollinators and soil diversity

To read more about this research and other collaborators, please visit this article.


Dr. Sprunger teaching new field-based soil health course at KBS this summer

Soil Health Concepts in Agroecology (CSS 491) is open to both undergraduate and graduate students!


Check out our Courses page for details or click here to view/register on the KBS website.


Welcome, Katherine!

Our lab is pleased to welcome Katherine Naasko! Katherine recently completed her doctoral work at Washington State University where she explored soil biological health properties and soil C cycling on arid deep soil profiles in Washington. Katherine will be leading some of the soil health initiatives currently underway in the Sprunger Lab. We are very excited to have her join us at KBS. 


Q&A with Dr. Sprunger: A holistic approach to assessing soil health

Dr. Christine Sprunger explains the importance of a well-rounded approach to soil health assessments in this Q&A with Open Access Government.

Questions include:

What is soil health, and why is it important?
How do you conduct these assessments?
What is the link between soil health and ecosystem services?
How does climate change influence soil health?
What is the future of soil health research?

Click here to read her responses through Open Access



Podcast on Organic Matter

Dr. Sprunger was featured on the MSU Extension Field Crop’s Podcast In the Weeds in an episode titled, 'All there is to know about Organic Matter'. 

Episode Description:

In the Weeds Series 10 Episode 3: MSU Extension Educator Monica Jean and Sarah Fronczak, sit down with Christine Sprunger, Associate Professor of Soil Health at the MSU W. K. Kellogg Biological Station, to discuss organic matter and all its fine details.

Click here to listen to the episode on Spotify (or your computer) or press play on the left.


A&EL 2022 Outstanding Paper

Sprunger lab collaborative paper, Systems with greater perenniality and crop diversity enhance soil biological health, is the 2022 Agricultural & Environmental Letters Award Winner!


Articles from the past 2 years were evaluated based on "advanced knowledge in the profession, the effectiveness of communication, methodology, originality, and impact." We are honored to receive this recognition!

Read more about the award and past winners here, and be sure check out the post from A&EL on Twitter.


KBS welcomes Dr. Sprunger!

The Kellogg Biological Station gives a warm welcome to Dr. Christine Sprunger on the KBS news website! Click here to read about Dr. Sprunger's history at KBS and her exciting new research directions as a faculty member.


Smithsonian Feature

Dr. Sprunger was featured as a Research Mentor in the Smithsonian Science Education Center's Community Research Guide titled Biodiversity! How can we balance the needs of people with the needs of other living things?


This guide was made to encourage young people to learn and take action on pressing global issues. You can find Dr. Sprunger in Part 6 (pgs 294-343) addressing the topic "How can I balance the needs of people and soil organisms of my community?" Check it out here, or click on the cover on the right.


Prairie Strip and Soil Health Farm Field Day

Sprunger lab phD student, Tvisha Martin, participated in a Farm Field Day held in Cassopolis, Michigan on Friday, August 26th. Tvisha presented a talk on nematodes and soil health in the prairie strips, which she studied this summer with our KBS REU student Abby Rees. 

The event was free to the public and featured talks from farmers, land managers, and other soil scientists. 

Click here to learn more about the field day and the KBS LTER MiStrips program. 

Tvisha stands above a soil pit profile as she gives her talk


New Horizons for the Sprunger Lab

The Sprunger Lab is headed to Michigan State University and will be based at the Kellogg Biological Station starting August 2022. The Sprunger lab will continue working on soil health research.


For more information regarding this transition, please email Dr. Sprunger at

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New Scientia Article 

Check out Dr. Sprunger's recent article with Scientia, Tackling Soil Health from Every Angle, describing past and future of research on soil health and climate change.

Read the full article here. Also available on the Scientia website.

Scientia article pic.jpg



Welcome to the lab, Cole!



Recent Sprunger Lab publication featured in CSA News  

Our lab’s recent publication in Agricultural & Environmental Letters (Sprunger et al 2020) was featured in the March 2021 issue of CSA News magazine. CSA News is a monthly magazine that highlights exciting new research for members of three large interdisciplinary, professional societies: ASA, CSSA and SSSA. We are proud, honored, and excited to have our lab's research highlighted!

Click here to see the feature. 


The full March issue can be viewed online by subscribers and in the upcoming print edition of the magazine. 


The Rhizo Lab welcomes its newest master's student, Cole Goldman. Cole started his first day on Monday May 3rd, 2021. He will be working this summer to collect field data on the effects of flooding and climate change on soil food webs and nutrient cycling. Check out Cole's bio on the Our Team page and stay tuned to hear more about his work.


We are excited to have Cole be a part of our lab!



PhD Assistantship available with the Sprunger Lab beginning May 2021

Two PhD Assistantship positions will be available in May 2021 through The Ohio State's University School of Environment and Natural Resources (SENR) and Department of Horticulture and Crop Science (HCS).

The assistantship with Dr. Christine Sprunger of SENR will focus on the characterization of soil rhizosphere aspects and quantify nutrient cycling dynamics. More information can be found here.  

If you are interested in this position, please contact Dr. Christine Sprunger at

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PhD Assistantship positions filled for May 2021

We thank everyone for their interest in these two positions with our lab!



Welcome to the lab, Tvisha!

This week the Rhizosphere Dynamics Lab welcomed Tvisha Martin. Tvisha will be working with the lab as a research assistant over the summer and will begin her Master's degree course work this fall. Today we worked with greenhouse staff to mix topsoil and sand for our greenhouse study. In an effort to be kind to our new student, we waited till her second day with the lab to do heavy lifting. 


Adding components to the mixer.                                        Mixing the topsoil and sand.                                              Tvisha getting sand ready for the mixer.



Dr. Christine Sprunger awarded SEEDS grant for study: "Rainfall extremes and rhizosphere dynamics: Implications for soil health and crop productivity"



The Ohio State University's SEEDS: The CFAES Research

Competitive Grants Program awards several categories of research

grants, including an Early Career category, of which Dr. Sprunger was

awarded funding for her project investigating rainfall extreme effects

on soil health and crop production via rhizosphere dynamic

measurements. This project will run from 03-01-2019 to 02-28-2019

and will involve greenhouse and field experiments. For further details

on this project, click here.


Information on OSU's SEEDS program can be found here. 



Rhizosphere Dynamics Lab joins College of Wooster to promote women in science by volunteering for Girls Science Day program


Christine and Nicole were joined by soil grad student Noely to put on a workshop for girls interested in STEM fields as a career. They organized a soil biology workshop for 5th and 6th grade girls from Wayne, Holmes, and Ashland counties for the "Expanding Your Horizons" event, hosted by the College of Wooster.  Their "Soil Safari" session showcased soils and their role in the food web, determining physical soil properties, and their contribution to ecosystem services. After a brief presentation, the focus shifted to hands-on experiences where the girls drew a soil food web, learned how to determine soil texture, hunted for soil invertebrates in soil samples, and investigated how vegetation and root systems influence water infiltration and soil erosion through a mini-experiment. It was a great experience and we were thrilled to have the opportunity to open their minds to soils as a potential career path. 

Christine and Noely leading the girls through the soil erosion experiment as part of their "Soil Safari" experience.  

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