Howard Ferris, Emeritus

Ph.D. North Carolina State 1972

Research Interests

  • Research in my laboratory explores the structure (the component organisms, their dynamics and interactions) and functions (decomposition of organic matter, mineralization of nutrients, suppression of opportunists, etc.) of the soil food web. Major focus is on the effects of management and perturbation on the soil nematode fauna and on the contribution of these organisms to ecosystem processes. In both environmental assessment and management of sustainable agricultural systems, soil nematodes are proving to be useful indicators of soil health and productivity. At a higher level of resolution, we are interested in signals in the rhizosphere that determine the dynamics, behavior and interactions of rhizosphere organisms. Direct herbivory of nematodes on plant roots is a related area of study and includes alleviating crop damage through understanding of the effects of plants and cropping system on plant-feeding nematodes.

Areas of Emphasis

  • Agricultural Ecology, Conservation Ecology


  • Nematology