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Timothy Filley

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Timothy Filley

Director of Institute for Resilient Environmental and Energy Systems

Brett Carpenter

Postdoc, 1997-2000,  Carnegie Institution of Washington, Geophysical Lab
Ph.D., 1997, The Pennsylvania State University
B.S., 1990, Loyola University


Office: SEC 638

Areas of Interest

Terrestrial and Aquatic Biogeochemistry, Organic Geochemistry, Coupled Elemental Cycles in Soils, Soil Carbon  Sequestration, Hillslope Erosion Processes


My group studies the fundamental processes controlling carbon and nitrogen cycling in soil, litter, and streams within both natural and managed ecosystems. Much of our recent work focusses on soil dynamics within intensively managed landscapes stretching from the coastal irrigated deserts in Peru, to the plains of Northeast China, to the agricultural fields of the glaciated Midwest of the United States. A primary goal of this work is to develop a stronger scientific basis for modeling soil organic matter dynamics, ecosystem and critical zone processes, and the global carbon cycle with an emphasis on how perturbations to ecosystems (e.g., woody plant encroachment, fire, agriculture, invasive species, storm events) influence soil properties to sequester or release carbon and nitrogen. Our biogeochemistry studies utilize a variety of analytical approaches, including organic geochemistry, microbial activity assays, and stable isotope techniques integrated with remote sensing.

I am the inaugural director for the Institute for Resilient Environmental and Energy Systems in the OU Office of Vice President for Research and Partnerships 

Selected Publications

Ding, X.,  Wang; W., Wen, J., Feng, T., Peñuelas, J., Sardans, J., Liang;, C.,  Filley, T.R., He, H.B., Zhang, X (2023) Invasion of Spartina alterniflora alters microbial residues and their contribution to soil organic C pool in coastal wetlands. Catena 230, 107246.

Hou, T., Blair, N., Papanicolaou, ANT., Filley, T.R. (2023) Storm pulse responses of fluvial organic carbon to seasonal source supply and transport controls in a midwestern agricultural watershed. Science of The Total Environment, 161647.

Blair, N., Bettis III, E.A., Filley, T.R., Moravek, J., Papanicolaou, A.N., Ward, A.S., Wilson, C.G., Zhou, N., Kazmierczak, B., Kim, J., (2021) The Spatiotemporal Evolution of Storm Pulse Particulate Organic Carbon in a Low Gradient, Agriculturally Dominated Watershed. Frontiers in Water 3, 9.

Hou, T., Filley, T.R., Tong, Y., Abban, B.K., Singh, S., Papanicolaou, A.T., Wacha, K.M., Wilson, and C.G., Chaubey, I. (2021) Tillage-induced surface soil roughness controls the chemistry and physics of eroded particles at early erosion stage. Soil and Tillage Research, (207, 104807).

Li, M., Foster, E.J., Le, P.V.V., Yan, Q., Stumpf, A., Hou, T., Papanicolaou, ANT., Wacha, K.M., Wilson, C.G., Wang, J., Kumar, P., Filley, T.R.  (2020) A new dynamic wetness index predicts soil moisture persistence and correlates with key indicators of surface soil geochemistry. Geoderma 368, 114239.

Ceja-Navarro, J., Karaoz, Bill, M., Hao, Z.,  White, R., Arellano, A., Ramanculova, L., Filley, T.R., Berry, T., Conrad, M., Blackwell, M., Nicora, C., Kim, Y-M., Reardon, P., Lipton, M., Adkins, J., Pett-Ridge, J., Brodie, E. (2019) Gut anatomical properties and microbial functional assembly promote lignocellulose deconstruction and colony subsistence of a wood-feeding beetle. Nature-Microbiology 4(5), 864.

Ma, Y., Szlavecz, K., McCormick, K., Filley, T.R. (2019) Controls on soil organic carbon stability and temperature sensitivity with increased aboveground litter input in deciduous forests at different forest ages. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 134, 90-99.

Gibson, C., Hatton P.J., Bird, J.A., Nadelhoffer, K.J., Ward, C., Stark, R., Filley, T.R. (2018) Interacting Controls of Pyrolysis Temperature and Plant Taxa on the Degradability of PyOM in Fire-Prone Northern Temperate Forest. Soil Systems 2 (3), 48.

Kumar, P., Le, P., Papanicolaou, T., Rhoads, B., Anders, A., Stumpf, A., Wilson, C.,  Bettis, E., Ward, A., Filley, T.R.,  Lin, H., Keefer, L., Keefer, D., Lin, Y.F., Muste, M. Royer, T., Foufoula-Georgiou, E.,  Belmont, P.,  Blair, N. (2018) Critical Transition in Critical Zone of Intensively Managed Landscapes. Anthropocene 22, 10-19.