Dr. André Franco is an agronomist and soil scientist studying how modern global environmental changes are affecting soils from tropical crop fields and rainforests to temperate grasslands. Dr. Franco’s research focuses on the living organisms that inhabit soils, which support life aboveground by multiple ecosystem services and comprise a quarter of Earth’s biodiversity. His work has contributed to unraveling fundamental roles of microscopic soil animals such as nematodes, and larger ones such as earthworms and termites, in influencing ecosystem responses to changing climate and land-use regimes.
After completing his doctorate in soil science at the University of São Paulo in Piracicaba, Brazil, in 2015 André joined Dr. Diana Wall’s research group at Colorado State University, first as a postdoc, and currently as a Research Scientist in the Department of Biology. At CSU, André has worked on an NSF-funded research with collaborators from Arizona State University examining which mechanisms govern ecosystem responses to changes in rainfall in U.S. grasslands. His focus in this project is to study the sensitivity to extreme droughts of root-feeding nematodes and their predators and its linkages to above- and below-ground plant production from desert to humid grasslands (see recent PNAS paper here). As a side project, André obtained funds from CSU OVPR with Dr. Diana Wall and Dr. Bruno Sobral and led the first data synthesis of the effects of Amazonian deforestation on soil biodiversity.
See André’s Google Scholar page for a complete, updated list of publications.