Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Kristine A. Nichols

Research Microbiologist

Kris Nichols has been a Soil Microbiologist with the USDA, Agricutural Research Service (ARS) Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory (NGPRL) in Mandan, ND for over seven years. She was raised on a primarily corn-soybean conventional farm in southwestern Minnesota. Kris received Bachelor of Science degrees in Plant Biology and in Genetics and Cell Biology from the University of Minnesota in 1995, a Masters degree in Enivronmental Microbiology from West Virginia University in 1999, and a Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Maryland in 2003. Since 1993, she has studied arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi – a plant-root symbiont. Her most recent work involves the investigation of glomalin – a substance produced by AM fungi. Glomalin contributes to nutrient cycling by protecting AM hyphae transporting nutrients from the soil to the plant and to soil structure and plant health by helping to form and stabilize soil aggregates. Kris has been examining the impacts of management such as crop rotation, tillage practices, organic production, cover crops, and livestock grazing on soil aggregation, water relationships, and glomalin at NGPRL.

 Photo of Kristine Nichols



The Living Soils

Managing Soil Biology for Profitability

Measuring Soil Health Toolkit

Role of Healthy Soils in Nutrient Management

The Biology of the Soil

Rhizosphere Biology

Agricultural Management and Soil Biology


Recent Research
     Research Results & Technology Conference, February 15, 2010

The Undercover in Cover Crops
     Research Results & Technology Conference, February 24, 2009

Microbial Engineering to Improve Profitability      View      Download

Soil Quality Demos


Congratulations to Kris Nichols for being selected as one of two recipients of the Conservation Research Award from the Soil and Water Conservation Society. Kris will receive her award at the annual meetings of the SWCS in Ft. Worth, TX this July. The Conservation Research Award is conferred on SWCS society members or teams of members whose research has led to exceptional improvements in soil conservation, water conservation, and/or related natural resources research. This award is given for research excellence first and foremost. The award may be given for research excellence or results of the research that have led to significant conservation improvements.

Dr. Kris Nichols was named one of the "Top 40 under 40" by North Dakota Business Watch magazine.  Dr. Nichols is recognized as "a leader in the movement to rebuild the health of our soils for the sustainability of global food production."

Dr. Kris Nichols, USDA-ARS Soil Microbiologist, was presented the "Professional Award" on Oct. 15, 2009 by the North Dakota Soil and Water Conservation Society for her research and outreach efforts in soil microbiology, nutrient cycling, crop rotation, soil aggregation, and the role 'glomalin' plays in the hidden world beneath our feet.

Last Modified: 4/17/2013