Francesca Cotrufo, PhD.


Soil and Crop Sciences

Senior Scientist

Natural Resource Ecology Lab

Fields of Expertise

Agriculture, Ecosystem Dynamics, Soil Science

Areas of Interest

Black carbon hydro-biogeochemistry, Litter decomposition, Soil ecology and biogeochemistry, Soil organic matter dynamics, Stable isotope ecology


Dr. Francesca Cotrufo is a Professor in the Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, and Senior Scientist at the Natural Resource Ecology Lab, at Colorado State University. Born and raised in Naples, Italy, she earned B.Sc. from the University of Naples in 1991 and Ph.D. from Lancaster University, UK in 1995. Prior to join CSU in 2008, Dr. Cotrufo worked as a professor at the University of Campania, Italy. Since 2003, she has also been an Editor for the journal Global Change Biology. Dr. Cotrufo is a soil ecologist and biogeochemist, internationally recognized as an authority in the field of litter decomposition and soil organic matter dynamics, and in the use of isotopic methodologies in these studies. Her main research interest is in understanding the mechanisms and drivers of formation and persistence of soil organic matter, and its response to global environmental changes and disturbances. She also pursues applied research to propose soil management practices that increase soil health and mitigate climate change, such as application of biochar in soils. As a scientist fully aware of the current and future challenges expecting humanity, she is interested in promoting K-12 education and outreach activities to advance scientific literacy and societal understanding of current human impacts on the Earth System.