Erik Hobbie

Phone: (603) 862-3581
Office: Earth Systems Research Center, Morse Hall Rm 451, Durham, NH 03824
Erik Hobbie

I received a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry from Yale University in 1987 and a Masters (1994) and PhD (1997) in Environmental Sciences from the University of Virginia. I had a post-doctoral position from 1997-1999 at the US Environmental Protection Agency in Corvallis, Oregon, and a second post-doctoral position from 2000-2001 at the Max Planck Institute for Biogeochemistry in Jena, Germany, before joining the Institute.

The main focus of my work has been using stable isotopes at natural abundance levels to understand carbon and nitrogen cycling in forest ecosystems. I am particularly interested in understanding the importance of mycorrhizal fungi in forests and in tundra environments, both as a carbon sink and as a source for nitrogen. Mycorrhizal fungi are ubiquitous root symbionts that supply the majority of nutrients to forest vegetation, protect tree roots against pathogens, and filter out potentially toxic metals such as aluminum. Mycorrhizal fungi appear heavily affected by atmospheric nitrogen deposition in Europe, and we suspect that the same processes are starting to operate in the northeastern US, with possibly deleterious consequences for forest health, including the uptake of other important nutrients such as calcium. We use culture studies, isotopic tracers, natural abundance measurements, and computer modeling to understand the role of mycorrhizal fungi in terrestrial ecosystems.

Other work has included using isotopic measurements to understand diets of small rodents, marsupials, bears, and kiwi, assessing the carbon sources of 400-million-year old fungi (that happened to be 6 meters tall), and applying tracer isotopes of glucose to understand the main metabolic fluxes during lipid biosynthesis in cultured fungi. More information about my past and present research can be found at


  • Ph.D., Environmental Science, University of Virginia
  • M.S., Environmental Science, University of Virginia
  • B.S., Chemistry, Yale University

Courses Taught

  • ESCI 745: Isotope Geochemistry

Selected Publications

Hobbie, E. A., Shamhart, J., Sheriff, M., Ouimette, A. P., Trappe, M., Schuur, E. A. G., . . . Barnes, B. M. (2017). Stable Isotopes and Radiocarbon Assess Variable Importance of Plants and Fungi in Diets of Arctic Ground Squirrels. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 49(3), 487-500. doi:10.1657/aaar0016-062

Hobbie, E. A. (2017). Dietary protein content and tissue type control13C discrimination in mammals: an analytical approach. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 31(7), 639-648. doi:10.1002/rcm.7830

Hobbie, E. A., Schubert, B. A., Craine, J. M., Linder, E., & Pringle, A. (2017). Increased C3productivity in Midwestern lawns since 1982 revealed by carbon isotopes inAmanita thiersii. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 122(2), 280-288. doi:10.1002/2016jg003579

Hobbie, E. A., Rice, S. F., Weber, N. S., & Smith, J. E. (2016). Isotopic evidence indicates saprotrophy in post-fire Morchella in Oregon and Alaska. Mycologia, 108(4), 638-645. doi:10.3852/15-281

Kumla, J., Hobbie, E. A., Suwannarach, N., & Lumyong, S. (2016). The ectomycorrhizal status of a tropical black bolete, Phlebopus portentosus, assessed using mycorrhizal synthesis and isotopic analysis. Mycorrhiza, 26(4), 333-343. doi:10.1007/s00572-015-0672-1

McCormack, M. L., Dickie, I. A., Eissenstat, D. M., Fahey, T. J., Fernandez, C. W., Guo, D., . . . Zadworny, M. (2015). Redefining fine roots improves understanding of below-ground contributions to terrestrial biosphere processes. New Phytologist, 207(3), 505-518. doi:10.1111/nph.13363

Craine, J. M., Elmore, A. J., Aidar, M. P. M., Bustamante, M., Dawson, T. E., Hobbie, E. A., . . . Wright, I. J. (2009). Global patterns of foliar nitrogen isotopes and their relationships with climate, mycorrhizal fungi, foliar nutrient concentrations, and nitrogen availability. New Phytologist, 183(4), 980-992. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2009.02917.x

Hobbie, J. E., & Hobbie, E. A. (2006). 15N IN SYMBIOTIC FUNGI AND PLANTS ESTIMATES NITROGEN AND CARBON FLUX RATES IN ARCTIC TUNDRA. Ecology, 87(4), 816-822. doi:10.1890/0012-9658(2006)87[816:nisfap];2

A. Hobbie, E., & Werner, R. A. (2004). Intramolecular, compound-specific, and bulk carbon isotope patterns in C3and C4plants: a review and synthesis. New Phytologist, 161(2), 371-385. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.2004.00970.x

Hobbie, E. A., Macko, S. A., & Williams, M. (2000). Correlations between foliar δ15N and nitrogen concentrations may indicate plant-mycorrhizal interactions. Oecologia, 122(2), 273-283. doi:10.1007/pl00008856

Most Cited Publications