Date of birth: 18 June 1986 Address

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Thomas Ward Crowther
Date of birth: 18 June 1986

Address: Yale University, 370 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA

Academic Interests:

Community Ecology, Microbial Ecology, Ecosystem Ecology, Global Change Ecology

Higher Education:

  • 2004-2007: Undergraduate, Cardiff University: B.Sc. (Hons.) Zoology, Class I.

  • 2008-2012: Doctoral student, Cardiff University: PhD in Ecology funded by NERC. Thesis entitled ‘Effects of Grazing Soil Fauna on the Functioning and Community Composition of Saprotrophic Basidiomycete Fungi’.


  • 2012-present: Postdoctoral Fellowship funded by the Yale Climate & Energy Institute. Advisor: Dr Mark Bradford. School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, Yale University.

    Academic Grants and Awards:

  • September 2010: Anne Keymer Prize for the Best PhD Student Talk at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, Leeds, UK.

  • May 2010: 1ST prize for the best PhD student Oral and Poster presentations at the Cardiff School of Biosciences Annual Away-Day Conference, Cardiff, UK.

  • April 2012: Yale Climate & Energy Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship ($120,000).

  • January 2014: British Ecological Society Large Research Grant ($33,000).

  • February 2014: Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship ($194,000).

    Journal Editorial Boards:

  • 2012-Present: Agricultural and Forest Entomology.

    Journal Reviewing:

    Reviewer for more than 20 international journals, including Ecology Letters, Ecology, Global Change Biology, Journal of Animal Ecology, Functional Ecology, ISME J and PLOS 1.

    Teaching experience:

  • Yale University (2012-present): Soil Science Lecturer

  • Cardiff University (2008-2012): Demonstrated in undergraduate classes including Ecology, Entomology, Mycology, Statistics and Biology Field Courses

  • Operation Wallacea, Honduras (2010): Lectured on endemism, conservation and herpetofauna.

  • Committee member for Daniel Maynard in his Yale PhD dissertation.

  • Co-advised one PhD student (Daniel Maynard) and one Masters of Research student (Madeleine Rubenstein) in Yale University.

  • Co-advised two Cardiff University Masters of Research (MRes) students in their dissertation projects.

  • Co-advised 33 Cardiff University undergraduate students on their Final Year Dissertation projects, 7 of which published this work in international, peer-review journals.

    Book chapters

    Peer-reviewed publications (* indicates joint first author):

  • Maynard, D.S., Crowther, T.W*., King, J, Warren, R. & Bradford, M.A. (2015). Temperate forest termites: ecology, biogeography, and ecosystem impacts. Ecological Entomology, in press.

  • Crowther, T.W. and Grossart, H. (2015). The role of bottom-up and top-down interactions in determining microbial and fungal diversity and function. in T.C. Hanley and K.J. La Pierre (eds): Trophic Ecology: Bottom-Up and Top-Down Interactions Across Aquatic and Terrestrial Systems. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK.

  • Thomas, S.D. & Crowther, T.W.* (2015). Predicting rates of isotopic turnover across the animal kingdom: a synthesis of existing data. Journal of Animal Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2656.12326.

  • Crowther, T.W., Maynard, D.S., Crowther, T.R., Peccia, J., Smith, J., & Bradford, M. A. (2014). Untangling the fungal niche: the trait-based approach. Frontiers in Microbiology, 5: 579. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2014.00579.

  • Ramirez, K.S., Leff, J.W., Barberán, A., Bates, S., Betley, J., Crowther, T.W., Kelly, E., Oldfield, E.E., Perkins, S., Shaw, A., Steenbock, C., Bradford, M.A., Wall, D.H., & Fierer, N. (2014). Biogeographic patterns in below-ground diversity in New York City's Central Park are similar to those observed globally. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, doi: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1988.

  • Bradford, M.A., Warren R.J. II, Baldrian, P., Crowther, T.W., Maynard, D.S. Oldfield, E.E., Wieder, W.R., Wood, A.A. & King J.R. (2014). Classical paradigms fail to explain wood decomposition at regional scales. Nature Climate Change, 4, 625–630.

  • Crowther, T.W., Maynard, D.S., Leff, J.W., Oldfield, E.E., McCulley, R.L., Fierer, N. & Bradford, M.A. (2014). Predicting the responsiveness of soil biodiversity to deforestation: a cross‐biome study. Global Change Biology, 20, 2983–2994.

  • Dray, M.D., Crowther, T.W.*, Thomas S,M., A’Bear, A.D., Godbold, D.L., Ormerod, S.J., Hartley, S.E., & Jones, T.H. (2014). Effects of elevated CO2 on litter chemistry and subsequent invertebrate detritivore feeding responses. PLoS one, 9(1), e86246.

  • Crowther, T.W., Stanton, D., Thomas, S., A’Bear A.D., Hiscox, J., Jones, T.H., Voříšková, J., Baldrian, P. & Boddy, L. (2013). Top-down control of soil fungal community composition by a globally distributed keystone species. Ecology, 94, 2518–2528.

  • Crowther, T.W. & Bradford, M.A. (2013). Thermal acclimation in widespread heterotrophic soil microbes. Ecology Letters, 16, 469-477.

  • Bradford M.A., & Crowther, T. W. (2013) Carbon use efficiency and storage in terrestrial ecosystems. New Phytologist, 199, 7-9.

  • A’Bear A.D., Crowther, T.W.*, Ashfield, R., Chadwick, D.D.A., Dempsey, J., Meletiou, L., Rees, C.L., Jones, T.H., Boddy, L. (2013). Localised invertebrate grazing moderates the effect of warming on competitive fungal interactions. Fungal Ecology, 6, 137–140.

  • Crowther, T.W., Boddy, L. & Jones, T.H. (2012) Functional and ecological consequences of saprotrophic fungus-grazer interactions. ISME J, 6, 1992–2001.

  • Crowther, T.W., Littleboy, A., Jones, T.H. & Boddy, L. (2012) Interactive effects of warming and invertebrate grazing on the outcomes of competitive fungal interactions. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 81, 419-426.

  • Crowther, T.W., Jones, T.H. & Boddy, L. (2012) Interactions between saprotrophic basidiomycete mycelia and mycophagous soil fauna. Mycology, 3, 77-86. Special issue: The impact of fungi on other organisms.

  • Crowther, T.W. & A’ Bear, A.D. (2012) Impacts of grazing soil fauna on decomposer fungi are species-specific and density-dependent. Fungal Ecology, 5, 277–281.

  • Tordoff, G.M., Chamberlain, P.M., Crowther, T.W., Black, H.I.J., Jones, T. H., Stott, A. & Boddy, L. (2011) Invertebrate grazing affects nitrogen partitioning in the saprotrophic fungus Phanerochaete velutina. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 43, 2338-2346.

  • Crowther T.W., Boddy, L. & Jones, T.H. (2011) Outcomes of fungal interaction are determined by soil invertebrate grazers. Ecology Letters, 14, 1134-1142. (Cover photograph).

  • Crowther, T.W., Jones, T.H., Boddy, L. & Baldrian, P. (2011) Invertebrate grazing determines enzyme production by basidiomycete fungi. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 43, 2060-2068.

  • Crowther, T.W., Jones, T.H. & Boddy, L. (2011) Species-specific effects of grazing invertebrates on mycelial emergence and growth from woody resources into soil. Fungal Ecology, 5, 333-341.

  • Crowther, T.W., Boddy, L. & Jones, T.H. (2011) Species-specific effects of soil fauna on fungal foraging and decomposition. Oecologia, 167, 535-545.

    Publications in review (* indicates joint first author):

  • Crowther, T.W., Sokol, N., Maynard, D.S., Oldfield, E.E., Thomas, S. & Bradford, M.A. Environmental stress response limits fungal necromass contributions to soil organic matter. In review.

  • Crowther, T.W., Thomas, S., Maynard, D.S., Baldrian, P., Covey, K., Frey, S.D., van Diepen, L.T.A. & Bradford, M.A. Biotic interactions mitigate soil microbial feedbacks to climate change. In review.

  • Maynard, D.S., Leonard, K., Crowther, T.W., & Bradford, M.A. Mapping the multi-dimensional niche. In review.

  • Oldfield, E.E. Felson, A.J., Auyeung, N., Crowther, T.W., Falxa-Raymond N., Harada, Y. Maynard, D.S. Sokol, N.W., Warren, R.J., Hallett, R.A. & Bradford, M.A. Urban afforestation: performance of planted native trees in relation to species identity and land management. In review.

  • Bradford, M.A., Fierer, N, Wieder, W.R. & Crowther, T.W. The land-climate carbon feedback. In review.

    Invited Presentations

  • Crowther, T.W. Thermal adaptation in fungi: using traits to predict biogeogoraphy. Mycological Society of America conference. Lansing, Michigan, June 2014. Invited by Mia Maltz for the symposium: Functional traits in a changing world.

  • Crowther, T.W. A trait-based approach to understanding fungal communities. The George Washington University, November 2013. Invited by Dr Amy Zanne.

  • Crowther, T.W. Fungal interactions mediate soil-climate feedbacks. University of Colorado at Boulder, April 2013. Invited by Dr Noah Fierer.

  • Crowther, T.W. Fungal interactions shape the underworld. Bowling Green State University, December 2012. Invited by Dr Shannon Pellini.

  • Crowther, T.W. Fungal interactions shape the underworld. Yale University, November 2012. School of F&ES weekly seminar series.

  • Crowther, T.W. Interactive effects of warming and grazing on fungal competitive outcomes. Harvard University, May 2012. Invited by Dr Aaron Ellison.

  • Crowther, T.W. & A’Bear, A.D. Biotic and abiotic factors affecting the growth and functioning of saprotrophic basidiomycete fungi. Netherlands Institute for Ecology (NIOO), January 2012. Invited by Prof Wim van der Putten.

  • Crowther, T.W. Untangling the fungal niche: a trait-based approach. Paper presented at the British Ecological Society annual conference, Lille, 2014.

  • Crowther, T.W. & Bradford, M.A. Vulnerability of Soil Biodiversity to Deforestation. Paper presented at the International Society for Ecology (INTECOL) Conference, 2013.

  • Crowther, T.W., Boddy, L. & Jones, T.H. Functional and ecological consequences of saprotrophic fungus-grazer interactions. Paper presented at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, 2011.

  • Crowther, T.W., Boddy, L. & Jones, T.H. Outcomes of fungal interactions are determined by soil invertebrate grazers. Paper presented at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, 2010. * 1st prize for best student talk.

  • Crowther, T.W., Boddy, L. & Jones, T.H. Species-specific effects of soil fauna on fungal foraging and decomposition. Paper presented at the British Ecological Society Annual Meeting, 2009.

Media attention

  • Central Park - An Urban Jungle. Various sources including National Georaphic, The Washington Post, NPR, New York Times and Scientific American (October 2014).

  • Decomposing logs show local factors undervalued in climate change predictions. Various sources including Science Daily (June 2014).

  • Deforestation-related climate impacts may vary by soil. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Volume 12, Issue 4 (May 2014).

  • Deforestation in sandy soils is a greater threat to climate change. Various sources including NSF news, Science 360 and USA news, April 2014.

  • Ecosystems Underground; Consequences for Climate Change. Yale Climate and Energy Institute, December 2013.

  • Fungi, not plants, drive long-term carbon sequestration in boreal forest. Yale Climate and Energy Institute, May 2013.

  • Thermal Adaptation in Heterotrophic Soil Microbes. Yale Climate and Energy Institute, January 2013.

  • Climate-Ecosystem Carbon Feedbacks. YCEI Climate and Energy Institute, February 2013

  • Woodland Warfare in a Warming World. NERC Planet Earth Online article, Autumn 2012.

  • Peacekeeping creatures help maintain woodland diversity. Various sources including The Western Mail and Wales Online, September 2011

Academic society memberships

Other Scholarly activities:

  • Judge for the Poster presentation award at the International Association for Ecology Conference (2013), and the PhD talk competition at the BES annual meeting (2014).

  • Chair for the ‘Above-ground below-ground interactions’ session at the International Association for Ecology Conference (2013).

  • Volunteer tutor at New Haven Reads, New Haven, USA (2012-present)

  • Stem Ambassador for Cardiff University, Wales (2011-2012)

Notable non-academic achievements:

  • Tennis: Won the Welsh National tennis championship under 16 and under 18. Represented North Wales in the senior tennis team from 2001-2012. First seed in the Cardiff University varsity tennis team.

  • Football: First team varsity football for Cardiff University. Selected for North of England schoolboys under 15.

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