About Francesca

From 2008 to the present Dr. Cotrufo has been a professor in the Department of Soils and Crop Sciences and a senior scientist researcher at the Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory. Before these prestigious appointments, Dr. Cotrufo was an associate professor for 6 years and a full professor for two years in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Second University of Naples, Italy. She also had the distinction of being a research scientist in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Second University of Naples.

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  • I am a soil ecologist with leading experience in the field of litter decomposition and soil organic matter C and N dynamics, and in the use of isotopic methodologies in these studies. My main research interest is in the understanding of C and N fluxes from plant litter to soil and the atmosphere, and their response and feedback to global environmental changes. I also pursue applied research to propose soil management practices that increase soil quality and fertility and mitigate climate change, as for example the study of biochar in soils. As a scientist fully aware of the current and future challenges expecting humanity, I am interested in promoting research education, and outreach activities, aside from my specific area of expertise, to help mitigating the current human impacts on the Earth System and assure a better sustainable path for humanity


Laurea, Biology - University of Naples
Naples, Italy, 1991

Ph.D. , Soil Ecology - Lancaster University/Institute of Terrestrial Ecology
Lancaster, UK,


  • International Biochar Initiatives
  • American Ecological Society
  • American Geophysical Union
  • Soil Science Society of America

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