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Catherine Reardon (Kate)


Catherine (Kate) Reardon

Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center
Pendleton, OR
(541) 278-4392


Educational Background:

I received a Ph.D. in microbiology in 2005 from Montana State University in Bozeman and a Bachelor of Science in 2001 from Idaho State University in Pocatello.

Skills and Expertise

qPCR, T-RFLP, DNA sequencing, soil enzyme activity, microscopy

Research Program: Soil Microbiology

Broad Research Objectives

Evaluating effects of crop management on soil microbial communities and nutrient cycling activity

Identifying microbial populations beneficial to plant health in dryland cropping systems

Focus of the Microbiology Program

The focus of the microbiology program is to develop new knowledge about microbial benefits derived from diversified crop rotations. The primary objective of the current research plan is to determine whether wheat-oilseed rotations compared to traditional winter wheat-summer fallow provide belowground benefits from changes in the soil microbiology such as increased nitrogen availability, improved soil structure, and reduced disease. DNA- and culture-based methods are being employed to (i) characterize and compare changes in the microbial diversity, composition and function in response to crop rotation, (ii) identify key changes in fungal and bacterial populations with relation to soil structure, and (iii) determine whether Brassica oilseed crops inhibit or “biofumigate” soil communities near the root (or rhizosphere).

Current Research Projects

Research is funded under the USDA-ARS NP 216

Additional Research Projects:

Selected Publications

Reardon, C.L., and S.B. Wuest. “Soil amendments yield persisting effects on the microbial communities—a 7-year study.” Applied Soil Ecology (2016) 101: 107-116.

Reardon, C.L., H.T. Gollany, and S.B. Wuest. “Diazotroph community structure and abundance in wheat–fallow and wheat–pea crop rotations.” Soil Biology and Biochemistry (2014) 69: 406-412.

Williams, J.D., C.L. Reardon, S.B. Wuest, and D.S. Long. “Soil wet aggregate stability in dryland Pacific Northwest intensified crop rotations.” Soil Science Society of America J. (2018) 82:455-462.