Faculty & Staff
V. Bala Chaudhary, PhD
Office #: BVM Hall 403
CV Link: Chaudhary CV
I grew up in Minnesota and received my undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago, specializing in ecology and evolution. My undergraduate research examined the impacts of plant and mycorrhizal biodiversity relationships, as well as elevated CO2, on Midwestern tallgrass prairies (Advisors: Jim Bever and Mike Miller). After college, I worked as a biological consultant implementing habitat mitigation plans for endangered species in California. My graduate work at Northern Arizona University (Advisor: Nancy Johnson) focused on mycorrhizal fungal biogeography and their role in the restoration of degraded ecosystems. After teaching as adjunct at Northern Arizona University, I joined the Loyola University Chicago Environmental Science faculty in 2012.
Ph.D., Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, 2010
M.Sc., Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University, 2006
B.Sc., Ecology & Evolution, University of Chicago, 1999
My research revolves around the soil ecology of natural and managed ecosystems. I try to tailor my research questions to serve land managers and focus my work at the community and ecosystem scales. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how mycorrhizal fungal communities are assembled, how these communities interact with other soil organisms, and how they provide vital ecosystem services such as soil stabilization. I am particularly intrigued by the biodiversity and biogeography of mycorrhizal fungal communities and how this knowledge can be applied to the burgeoning field of conservation mycology.
My approach to teaching stresses critical thinking and primary sources by focusing on hands-on scientific inquiry, in-field observations, scientific literature, and student research. I currently teach UCSF 137 Scientific Basis of Environmental Issues, the Tier I Foundational core science course required for non-science majors. I also teach ENVS 281 Human Impacts on the Environment and will offer ENVS 398 Special Topics: Urban Soils. I enjoy mentoring undergraduate research and am always looking for new students.
Álvarez-Sánchez, J, NC Johnson, A Antoninka, VB Chaudhary, MK Lau, SM Owen, I Sánchez-Gallen, G Guadarrama, S Castillo. 2011. Large-scale diversity patterns in spore communities of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi. In Pagano, MC (Ed.) Mycorrhiza: Occurrence in Natural and Restored Environments. pp 29-48. Nova Science Inc., New York.
Hoeksema, JD, VB Chaudhary, CA Gehring, NC Johnson, J Karst, RT Koide, A Pringle, C Zabinski, JD Bever, JC Moore, GWT Wilson, JN Klironomos, and J Umbanhowar. 2010. A meta-analysis of context-dependency in plant response to inoculation with mycorrhizal fungi. Ecology Letters 13(3):394-407.
Chaudhary, VB, LL Walters, JD Bever, JD Hoeksema, GWT Wilson. 2010. Advancing synthetic ecology: database system to facilitate complex ecological meta-analyses. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 91(2):235-243.
Johnson, NC, VB Chaudhary, JD Hoeksema, JC Moore, A Pringle, JA Umbanhower, GWT Wilson. 2009. Mysterious mycorrhizae? A field trip and classroom experiment to demystify the symbioses formed between plants and fungi. American Biology Teacher71:424-429.
Chaudhary, VB, TE O’Dell, MA Bowker, JB Grace, AE Redman, MC Rillig, NC Johnson. 2009. Untangling the biological controls of soil stability in semi-arid shrublands. Ecological Applications 19:110-122.
Bowker, MA, J Belnap, VB Chaudhary, NC Johnson. 2008. Revisiting classic water erosion models in drylands: the strong impact of biological soil crusts. Soil Biology and Biochemistry40:2309-2316.
Chaudhary, VB, MK Lau, and NC Johnson. 2008. Macroecology of Microbes – Biogeography of the Glomeromycota. In Varma, Ajit (Ed.) Mycorrhiza: Genetics and Molecular Biology, Eco-Function, Biotechnology, Eco-Physiology, Structure and Systematics, 3rdedition. pp. 529-564. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Johnson, NC, JD Hoeksema, JD Bever, VB Chaudhary, C Gehring, J Klironomos, R Koide, RM Miller, J Moore, P Moutoglis, M Schwartz, S Simard, W Swenson, J Umbanhowar, G Wilson, C Zabinski. 2006. From Lilliput to Brobdingnag: extending models of mycorrhizal function across scales. Bioscience 56:889-900.
Chaudhary, VB and MJ Griswold. 2001. Mycorrhizal Fungi – a Restoration Practitioner’s Point of View. Ecesis.11:1-10.