Erika Marín-Spiotta

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Erika Marín-Spiotta
Marin-Spiotta 01.jpg
Alma materStanford University (B.S.), University of California, Berkeley (Ph.D.)
AwardsCAREER Award, Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring
Scientific career
FieldsBiogeochemistry, soil science, ecology, geography
ThesisControls on above and belowground carbon storage during tropical reforestation

Erika Marín-Spiotta is a biogeochemist and ecosystem ecologist. She is currently Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is best-known for her research of the terrestrial carbon cycle and is an advocate for underrepresented groups in the sciences, specifically women.

Early life and education[edit]

Marín-Spiotta grew up in Spain.[1] She became interested in her area of study and spending time outside with her family, visiting archeological sites. In 1997, she graduated from Stanford University with a B.S. in Biology with a Minor in Political Science.[2] Nine years later, Marín-Spiotta completed her Ph.D. of Ecosystem Science from University of California, Berkeley.[2] Her thesis, “Controls on above and belowground carbon storage during tropical reforestation,” contributed to her field as it discussed how changes in land use affect carbon sequestration in soil and how the establishment of secondary forests can contribute to biodiversity conservation.[2][3] During her time at UC-Berkeley, she was a Graduate Research Environmental Fellow for the Department of Energy.[2][4]


After working as a NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Marín-Spiotta joined the faculty at UW-Madison in 2009 as an Assistant Professor in Geography.[5][2] In the following years, she also became an affiliate of the Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies Program and Center for Culture, History, and the Environment, the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, and the Departments of Soil Science and Forest and Wildlife Ecology.[6][7][8][9] Marín-Spiotta was promoted to Associate Professor in 2015 and to Professor in 2019[citation needed] in the Department of Geography.[10]


Marín-Spiotta focuses on the ways in which both human-caused land use and climate changes affect biodiversity, biomass, and the biogeochemistry of the atmosphere, water, and soil, in particular as related to terrestrial carbon cycling.[1][10][11] Her research offers insight into a variety of fields and the intersections between them, including soil science, biogeochemistry, ecosystem ecology, and geography.[12] Specifically, much of her research looks at these impacts in tropical ecosystems and the strength and ability of forests in different stages of succession to store and sequester carbon.[13] More recently, Marín-Spiotta has conducted research about paleosols and how the carbon stored in these soils could be a potential driver of climate change in the future.[14] [15][16] Following this research, Marín-Spiotta and her colleague were awarded a National Science Foundation grant to continue investigating the role of deep soil carbon in the carbon cycle.[14] Currently, Marín-Spiotta’s lab researches a variety of projects across a range of questions focused on how global change is altering ecosystems and critical global elemental cycles.[11]

Notable publications[edit]

Awards and leadership[edit]

Marín-Spiotta has received many awards for her contributions in the sciences, mentorship, and inclusion. She was also the Secretary of the Biogeosciences section at the American Geophysical Union in 2015 and 2016 and has held various other leadership and volunteer positions for the AGU.[21][22][23]

Marín-Spiotta is an advocate for underrepresented groups in the sciences and is committed to increasing awareness about sexual harassment in the field.[12] She is a board member of the Earth Science Women’s Network which works to mentor and support women in the geosciences.[24][25] Multiple of the awards Marín-Spiotta has received are in part due to her efforts to combat underrepresentation, sexism, and sexual harassment in science. The National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program awarded her and a team a $1.1 million grant to investigate these issues and establish ways to further the advancement of women in STEM, specifically focusing on how bystander intervention can lead to positive results.[26]


  1. ^ a b Schneider, Pat. "Q&A: Erika Marin-Spiotta is working to develop strategies to fight sexual harassment in science". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Marín-Spiotta, Erika. "Erika Marín-Spiotta Curriculum Vitae". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  3. ^ Marín-Spiotta, Erika (2006-08-06). "Controls on above and belowground carbon storage during tropical reforestation". Global Change Education Program.
  4. ^ "GCEP - 2005 Wesely Award". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  5. ^ "Affiliated Faculty". LACIS. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  6. ^ "Adjunct & Affiliate Faculty". Forest and Wildlife Ecology. 2017-05-11. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  7. ^ "The Nelson Institute Faculty". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  8. ^ "Faculty". Soil Science at UW-Madison. 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  9. ^ "Center for Culture, History, and Environment | People". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  10. ^ a b "Erika Marin-Spiotta". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  11. ^ a b "Marin-Spiotta BiogeoLab". Marin-Spiotta BiogeoLab. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  12. ^ a b c "Marín-Spiotta Receives 2016 Sulzman Award for Excellence in Education and Mentoring - Honors Program". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  13. ^ a b Marín-Spiotta, E.; Silver, W. L.; Ostertag, R. (2007-04-01). "LONG-TERM PATTERNS IN TROPICAL REFORESTATION: PLANT COMMUNITY COMPOSITION AND ABOVEGROUND BIOMASS ACCUMULATION". Ecological Applications. 17 (3): 828–839. doi:10.1890/06-1268. ISSN 1051-0761.
  14. ^ a b Geography Staff. "Marín-Spiotta & Mason receive $776,800 National Science Foundation award - MadGeogNews". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  15. ^ Devitt, Terry. "Buried fossil soils found to be awash in carbon". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  16. ^ a b Marin-Spiotta, Erika; Chaopricha, Nina T.; Plante, Alain F.; Diefendorf, Aaron F.; Mueller, Carsten W.; Grandy, A. Stuart; Mason, Joseph A. (2014-05-25). "Long-term stabilization of deep soil carbon by fire and burial during early Holocene climate change". Nature Geoscience. 7 (6): 428–432. doi:10.1038/ngeo2169. ISSN 1752-0894.
  17. ^ Marín-Spiotta, E.; Gruley, K. E.; Crawford, J.; Atkinson, E. E.; Miesel, J. R.; Greene, S.; Cardona-Correa, C.; Spencer, R. G. M. (2014-01-18). "Paradigm shifts in soil organic matter research affect interpretations of aquatic carbon cycling: transcending disciplinary and ecosystem boundaries". Biogeochemistry. 117 (2–3): 279–297. doi:10.1007/s10533-013-9949-7. ISSN 0168-2563.
  18. ^ Marín-Spiotta, Erika; Sharma, Sapna (2012-08-22). "Carbon storage in successional and plantation forest soils: a tropical analysis". Global Ecology and Biogeography. 22 (1): 105–117. doi:10.1111/j.1466-8238.2012.00788.x. ISSN 1466-822X.
  19. ^ Marín-Spiotta, Erika; Silver, Whendee; Swanston, Christopher; Ostertag, Rebecca (2009). "Soil organic matter dynamics during 80 years of reforestation of tropical pastures". Global Change Biology. 15 (6): 1584–1597. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2486.2008.01805.x.
  20. ^ Marín-Spiotta, Erika; Swanston, Christopher W.; Torn, Margaret S.; Silver, Whendee L.; Burton, Sarah D. (2008-01-15). "Chemical and mineral control of soil carbon turnover in abandoned tropical pastures". Geoderma. 143 (1–2): 49–62. doi:10.1016/j.geoderma.2007.10.001. ISSN 0016-7061.
  21. ^ "Leadership - Biogeosciences". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  22. ^ "Interview: Erika Marin-Spiotta, PhD – Associate Professor, Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Madison". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  23. ^ "Erika Marin-Spiotta - Leadership". American Geophysical Union. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  24. ^ "Who We Are – ESWN". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  25. ^ "Leadership Board – ESWN". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  26. ^ Maloney, Susan. "UW professor addresses sexual harassment in STEM fields". The Badger Herald. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  27. ^ "NSF Award Search: Award#1349952 - CAREER: Land Use and Environmental Controls on Soil Carbon in Human-Dominated Tropical Landscapes". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  28. ^ Geography Staff. "Erika Marin-Spiotta receives Vilas Associate Award - MadGeogNews". Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  29. ^ "Past Winners Vilas Associates | Research | UW–Madison". Retrieved 2018-11-08.