Anita Antoninka, PhD

NAU School of Forestry

Research Associate, Soil Ecology Lab


Research Interests

I am fascinated by the interface of the above- and below ground systems. The soil environment is shaped from above and from within. Understanding the interactions of soil biota with each other and with changing resources or environment are themes that come up repeatedly in my research along with the general themes of community, ecosystem, soil and restoration ecology, soil food webs, mycorrhizas, biological soil crusts, nematodes, & microarthropods.

Current Research

Anita Antoninka surveying biocrusts in Montana
Anita Antoninka surveying biocrusts in Montana. Syntrichia species are among the most abundant biocrust species in the intermountain west.

In conjunction with Dr. Bowker, the Soil Ecology Lab and other collaboratos, my current research topics include:

  1. Forest management impacts on soil biological, chemical and physical properties
  2. Climate impacts on biocrust communities
  3. Novel restoration and cultivation techniques using biological soil crusts, mycorrhizal fungi and plants
  4. The ecology of Syntrichia
  5. Research training for graduate and undergraduate students in the biological sciences


B.S. Environmental Sciences, 2003, Northern Arizona University

Ph.D. Biological Sciences, 2011, Northern Arizona University



Full list at: Google Scholar

Bowker, M. A., Antoninka, A. J., & Durham, R. A. (2017). Applying community ecological theory to maximize productivity of cultivated biocrusts. Ecological Applications. Google Scholar Link

Antoninka, A., Bowker, M. A., Reed, S. C., & Doherty, K. (2016). Production of greenhouse‐grown biocrust mosses and associated cyanobacteria to rehabilitate dryland soil function. Restoration Ecology, 24(3), 324-335. Google Scholar Link

Doherty, K. D., Antoninka, A. J., Bowker, M. A., Ayuso, S. V., & Johnson, N. C. (2015). A novel approach to cultivate biocrusts for restoration and experimentation. Ecological Restoration, 33(1), 13-16. Google Scholar Link

Antoninka, A., Reich, P. B., & Johnson, N. C. (2011). Seven years of carbon dioxide enrichment, nitrogen fertilization and plant diversity influence arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in a grassland ecosystem. New Phytologist,192(1), 200-214. Google Scholar Link