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Nadia Maaroufi

Nadia Maaroufi
I am an Associate Professor in plant-soil ecology and my research focuses on understanding how global change drivers impact ecosystem functioning. I am particularly interested in processes driven by soil organisms, with a special focus on fungi and soil fauna.


My research is based on a fundamental understanding of ecosystem processes, aboveground and belowground communities, and their interactions particularly in grassland and forest ecosystems. Understanding these interactions are essential to better assess and predict how global change drivers affect ecosystem functions and services such as nutrient cycling and net primary productivity. To accomplish this, I combine several disciplines, including ecosystem ecology, community ecology, ecological stoichiometry and global change biology. Working at the interface of different disciplines allow me to get a better understanding on how organisms and ecosystems respond to global change drivers such as anthropogenic nitrogen deposition, biodiversity loss and biological invaders. Finally, I aim to use this new knowledge about terrestrial ecosystem functioning and global change to inform the large public and decision makers.


Urban ecology

- Vegetation types and soil properties (LK0393 Utemiljö – kvalitet och uppföljning)

- Microorganisms and symbiosis - linkage with storm water management and plant well-being (RISE)

Root Ecology & plant-soil interactions

- Root ecology (MV0192 Markvetenskap för miljö och vatten)

- Roots and nutrient uptake (BL1350 Växtproduktion - mark och grödor)

Soil ecology

- Trophic Interactions (BL1322 Soil biology and biogeochemical cycles)

- Microbes (BL1419 Träd och skogsekologi)

- Ecosystem services in grassland ecosystems in the context of global change (The importance of biodiversity for sustainability course EJP soil)

- Soil biodiversity and ecosystem services (The importance of biodiversity for sustainability IPS, UniBE)

- Soil ecology (Advanced course in Community Ecology IPS, UniBE)

- Soil ecology (SG0171 Ekologi)

Global change ecology

- Impacts of nitrogen deposition on boreal forests (SG0171 Ekologi)

- Impacts of nitrogen on Soil Organisms (SG0171 Ekologi)


2022-present Importance of plant-soil interactions in urban ecology: potential to promote sustainable cities. 
In collaboration with Lena Neunkamp (Uni. Münster, DE)

2021-2023 Belowground biodiversity of grasslands – conservation needs and potential to promote sustainable agriculture. FORMAS (co-PI)
(PI: Karina Clemmensen, SLU)

2019-2023 Land-use intensification alters ecosystem functions in grasslands: insights from the soil fungal community. FORMAS (PI)

2019-2022 Impact of global change on phyllosphere microbiomes in grasslands. SNF (PI)

2017- 2019 The effect of ecosystem engineers on soil functioning in agricultural and forest habitats


I am involded in the AgroMixNorth project: Climate-smart resilience through diversified cropping systems - Identifying springboards in Nordic and Baltic agriculture led by Prof. Anke Herrmann (2023-2027)


2024 Associate professorship - Docent
Global change alters ecosystem functions: insights from the biodiversity under our feet.
Dpt. of Soil and Environment, SLU, Uppsala.

2016 Ph.D. in Biology
The effect of simulated anthropogenic nitrogen deposition on the net carbon balance of boreal soils.
Dpt. of Forest Ecology and Management, SLU, Umeå.

2011 M.Sc. in Biology, Ecology for Forest, Agronomy and Environment. Specializing in ecosystems functioning & management.
University of Lorraine, Metz-Nancy, FR.

2009 B.Sc. in Biology. Specializing in Biology of Organisms and Ecosystems.
University of Lorraine, Nancy, FR.



Bachelor student Kris Hebeisen. Inst. of Plant Science. Bern University, CH.
Project: Root Colonization Measurements of Beneficial Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi and Dark Septate Endophytes.


Bachelor student Alice Lavarenne. Inst. of Plant Science. Bern University, CH.
Project: Legacy effects of ley diversity on germination rate and growth of cereal crops.

Master student Joseph Volery, Inst. of Plant Science. Bern University, CH.
Project: Direct and indirect effects of nitrogen addition on keystone species in grasslands.

Bachelor student Lisa Gurtner, Research practical. Inst. of Plant Science. Bern University, CH.
Project: Effects of nitrogen addition on soil nematodes in grasslands.


Bachelor student Sina Aregger, Research practical. Inst. of Plant Science. Bern University, CH.
Project: Project: Impacts of plant diversity loss on soil nematodes in grasslands. 


Bachelor student Vanessa Fricker, Research practical. Inst. of Plant Science. Bern University, CH.
Project: Impacts of nitrogen addition and plant diversity on soil fauna in grassland ecosystems. 



PhD student Bradley Sparkes, Dept. of Soil and Environment. SLU, Uppsala, SE
project: Diversified cropping systems: Synergies and trade-offs of soil carbon and nitrogen cycling.
Main supervisor: Anke Herrmann, SLU, Uppsala, SE


PhD student Vestine Mukamparirwa, University of Rwanda, Kigali, RW
project: Potential of organic inputs from agroforestry tree biomass to improve soil nutrient content in two contrasting regions of Rwanda.
Main Supervisor: Aida Bargués Tobella, SLU, Umeå, SE; Salim Maliondo, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Tanzania; Canisius Mugunga, University of Rwanda

Previous supervision

2020-2023 PhD student Kaisa Torppa, Dept. of Ecology. SLU, Uppsala
project: Interactions between earthworms, nematodes and AM fungi and their role in the functioning of agricultural soils.
Main supervisor: Astrid Taylor

2019 -2023 PhD student Thu Zar Nwe, Inst. of Plant Science. Bern University, CH.
project: Direct and indirect effects of nitrogen addition on soil fauna and soil functioning in grasslands.
Main supervisor: Eric Allan

2021-2023 PhD student Yikang Chen, Bern University, CH and Hainan University, CN
project: Effects of nitrogen addition on plant and root-associated arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities and their underlying mechanisms in an alpine meadow.
Main supervisor: Shurong Zhou

Selected publications

Torppa K., Castaño Soler C., Glimskär A., Klinth M., Roslin T., Skånes H., Taylor A., Viketoft M., Clemmensen K., Maaroufi N.I (2024). Soil moisture and fertility drive earthworm diversity in north temperate semi-natural grasslands. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment

Nwe T.Z., Handa T., Kempel A., Soliveres S., Maaroufi N.I., Raymond-Léonard L., Pichon N., Cappelli S., Allan E. Collembola feeding traits respond strongly to plant community characteristics. In review

Torppa K., Viketoft M., Maaroufi N.I., Vahter T., Vasar M., Öpik M., Weih M., Taylor A (2023). Soil compaction affects arbuscular mycorrhizal symbiosis differently for spring wheat varieties with contrasting root traits. Plant & Soil

Cheng Y., Rutten G., Liu X., Ma M., Maaroufi N.I.*, Zhou S* (2023). Host plant height explains the effect of nitrogen enrichment on arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal communities. New Phytologist
*Shared last authorship

Nwe T.Z., Maaroufi N.I., Allan E., Soliveres S., Kempel A. (2023) Plant attributes interact with fungal pathogens and nitrogen addition to drive soil enzymatic activities and their temporal variation. Functional Ecology

Maaroufi N.I., Taylor A., Ehnes R., Andrén H., Kjellander P., Björkman C., Kätterer T., Klapwijk  M. J. (2022) Northward range expansion of rooting ungulates decreases soil decomposer abundances in boreal forests. Royal Society of Open Science

Pingree M., Kardol P., Nilsson M.-C., Wardle D., Maaroufi N.I., Gundale M.J. (2022) No evidence that boreal biochar impacts soil functioning by serving as microbial refugia. Global Change Biology Bioenergy

Neuenkamp L. & Maaroufi N.I (2020) Tiny fungi in the soil are like medicine for nature. Frontiers for Young Minds.

Maaroufi N.I. & J.R. De Long (2020) Global change impacts on forest soils: linkage between soil biota and carbon-nitrogen-phosphorus stoichiometry. Frontiers Forests & Global Change 

Forsmark B., Nordin A.N., Maaroufi N.I., Lundmark T., Gundale M.J.  (2020) Low and High nitrogen deposition rates in northern coniferous forests have different impacts on aboveground litter production, soil respiration, and soil carbon stocks. Ecosystems 

Maaroufi N. I., Nordin A., Palmqvist K., Hasselquist N.J., Forsmark B., Rosenstock N.P., Wallander H., Gundale M. J. (2019) Anthropogenic nitrogen enrichment enhances soil carbon accumulation by impacting saprotrophs rather than ectomycorrhizal fungal activity. Global Change Biology

Maaroufi N. I., Palmqvist K., Bach L.H., Bokhorst S., Liess A., Gundale M. J., Kardol P., Nordin A., Meunier C. L. (2018) Nutrient optimization of tree growth alters structure and function of boreal soil food webs. Forest Ecology and Management 428:46-56

Maaroufi N. I., Nordin A., Palmqvist K., Gundale M. J. (2017) Nitrogen enrichment impacts on boreal litter decomposition are driven by changes in soil microbiota rather than litter quality. Scientific Reports. 7:4083

Maaroufi N. I. (2016) The effect of Simulated Anthropogenic Nitrogen Deposition on the Net Carbon Balance of Boreal Soils SLU, Doctoral thesis Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2016:98

Maaroufi N. I., Nordin A., Palmqvist K., Gundale M. J. (2016) Chronic nitrogen deposition has a minor effect on the quantity and quality of aboveground litter in a boreal forest. PLOS One. 8: e0162086

Maaroufi N. I., Nordin A., Hasselquist N. J., Bach L.H., Palmqvist K., Gundale M. J. (2015) Anthropogenic nitrogen deposition enhances carbon sequestration in boreal soils. Global Change Biology. 21:3169-3180


Researcher at the Department of Soil and Environment; Soil nutrient cycling