Tower Hotline: 440.602.3838 | Phone: 440.946.4400

David J. Burke, PhD


Ph.D. 2001, Rutgers University, Biology

Adjunct Appointments:

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biology,
Case Western Reserve University

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences,
Kent State University

David J. Burke, PhD

Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests

My primary research interest as an ecologist has been the interaction between plants and soil microorganisms; especially mutualistic and associative soil organisms that live in the root zone of plants. Of special interest are mycorrhizal fungi that form mutually beneficial relationships with plant roots. Mycorrhizal fungi can enhance plant growth, disease resistance, drought tolerance, and affect plant community composition. These fungi can also influence other soil microbes that affect soil fertility through the cycling of nitrogen and phosphorous in natural systems. Consequently, mycorrhizal fungi may be key organisms in many communities, and a better understanding of how they interact with plants and other soil microbes is necessary for the future sound management of natural ecosystems. Our laboratory has two interrelated goals: 1) to describe the diversity of fungi in natural systems and to understand the environmental factors affecting this diversity 2) to understand the functional consequences of mycorrhizal diversity for plant growth, plant community structure, and ecosystem processes.  Our laboratory uses modern, DNA-based techniques for describing soil micro-organisms including mycorrhizal fungi.

Some Current Projects

  • Beech leaf disease and its cause
  • Ectomycorrhizal diversity in mature beech-maple forests: effects of seasonality, soil environmental conditions and root growth (more)
  • Soil acidification and the diversity and function of mycorrhizal communities in forests (more)
  • Fungi in winter: fungal ecology and snow cover (more)

Select Publications

Lance AC, Carrino-Kyker SR, Burke DJ, Burns JH (2020) Individual plant-soil feedback effects influence tree growth and rhizosphere fungal communities in a temperate forest restoration experiment. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 7, 500. 10.3389/fevo.2019.00500

Carrino-Kyker SR, Coyle KP, Kluber LA, Burke DJ (2020) Fungal and bacterial communities exhibit consistent responses to reversal of soil acidification and phosphorus limitation over time. Microorganisms 8, 1, 10.3390/microorganisms8010001

Burke DJ, Carrino-Kyker SR, Burns JH (2019) Is it Climate or chemistry? Soil fungal communities respond more strongly to soil nutrients in a multi-year high resolution analysis. Ecosphere 10(10): e02896. 10.1002/ecs2.2896

Lance AC, Burke DJ, Hausman CE, Burns JH (2019) Microbial inoculation and source provenance influence microbial community structure and nutrient dynamics in two temperate tree species. Restoration Ecology 25(5): 1084-1093.

Heberling JM, Burke DJ (2019) Utilizing herbarium specimens to quantify historical mycorrhizal communities. Applications in Plant Sciences 7(4): e1223. Note: Invited special article for the issue in Methods in Belowground Botany.

Burke DJ, Carrino-Kyker SR, Hoke A, Cassidy S, Bialic-Murphy L, Kalisz S (2019) Deer and invasive plant removal alters mycorrhizal fungal communities and soil chemistry: Evidence from a long-term field experiment. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 128: 13–21.

Monson ML, Dennis PM, Lukas KE, Krynak KL, Carrino-Kyker SR, Burke DJ, Schook MW (2018) The effects of increased hay-to-grain ratio on behavior, metabolic health measures, and fecal bacterial communities in four Masai giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi) at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Zoo Biology, 37: 320-331.

Burke DJ, Klenkar MK, Medeiros JS (2018) Mycorrhizal network connections, water reduction and neighboring plants species differentially impact seedling performance of two forest wildflowers. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 179(4):314–324. 2018.

Krynak KL, Burke DJ, Martin RA, Dennis PM (2017) Gut microbiome composition is associated with cardiac disease in zoo housed western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla). FEMS Microbiology Letters 364: doi: 10.1093/femsle/fnx149.

Burns JH, Brandt AJ, Murphy JE, Kaczowka AM, Burke DJ (2017) Soil drivers of coexistence in Rumex congeners: spatial heterogeneity of plant-soil feedbacks increases invader fecundity. Oecologia 183, 1077–1086.