Mark Bradford, Soil and Ecosystem
Science Expert, Promoted to Full Professor

Through field and laboratory analysis, Mark Bradford has advanced the scientific understanding of the response of soil carbon stores to climate change.
Mark Bradford, an expert in soil and ecosystem science at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (F&ES), was recently promoted to full professor with tenure.
 
Bradford, who first came to Yale in 2009, studies how land management and climate change is affecting plants, animals and microorganisms in agricultural, grassland and forest systems — and how, in turn, these effects influence the climate system and ecosystem health.
He has built an international reputation, publishing more than 120 papers, including in the world’s top scientific journals, while also mentoring numerous doctoral students, masters students and postdoctoral fellows.
 
His promotion was approved by the Yale Corporation last month.
 
“He is an outstanding scholar, teacher, and community member, bringing international recognition to F&ES and Yale,” said F&ES Dean Indy Burke.
 
Bradford, who earned a Ph.D. in biological sciences from the University of Exeter and the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UK) — followed by postdoctoral research at Imperial College (London) and Duke University — came to F&ES after spending four years on the faculty of the University of Georgia.
 
At the time, he was brought in to continue the School’s strong tradition of expertise in terrestrial ecosystem science.
 
Through field and laboratory analysis, Bradford and his team have advanced the scientific understanding of the response of soil carbon stores to climate change. The lab is currently comprised of five doctoral students, two postdocs, one master’s student, and a variety of contributors from across campus.
 
Some of the their current projects include testing the extent to which soils lose carbon as temperatures increase; research into whether the loss of tree species will affect the ecosystem services forests provide; and inquiries into whether the microbiology of the soil affects ecosystem fertility and carbon storage.
We want to build the knowledge that will enable us to manage soils effectively to address these global and local issues of environment and food production.
“Our focus is on understanding the links between the biology of the soil and carbon storage and movement,” Bradford says. “Changes in the amount of carbon stored belowground will serve to slow or accelerate climate change, and at the local level the amount of soil carbon is expected to be the determinant of soil health and hence food security. We want to build the knowledge that will enable us to manage soils effectively to address these global and local issues of environment and food production.”
 
In addition, he has been the lead on various grants, including from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for two major research grants, for a collaborative workshop grant to set directions for long-term ecological research, and as co-investigator with three of his students on Doctoral Dissertation Improvement awards.
 
Bradford has also served on several key committees and is currently leading the School’s strategy committee on diversity. He moved to the U.S. with his wife in 2002, has two daughters and a son — aged 14, 7 and 4 — and is an avid cyclist. 
 
Last August, Bradford was the faculty lead to help train the incoming masters class during MODs, the traditional summer residential orientation at Yale Myers Forest. He considered the experience valuable because it afforded him the opportunity to engage with all the new students, regardless of their field of study, and it connected him with the founding ethos of the School.
 
“In a very real way, the summer MODs program reflects the original intent of the School,” he said. “That’s still there, and it’s about building our community and translating the concept of what an ecosystem is into measurement and management of the environment — both to understand it and to develop natural resource solutions.”
– Kevin Dennehy    kevin.dennehy@yale.edu    203 436-4842
Share this page:
 
PUBLISHED: January 30, 2017
 

Stay up-to-date with F&ES!

Subscribe to an F&ES newsletter...

Weekly Newsletter

Monthly Newsletter