Becky Ball

Arizona State University West Campus
School of Mathematical & Natural Sciences
Associate Professor
Faculty
WEST Campus
Mailcode
2352

Biography

Becky Ball joined the faculty in 2010 after serving as a postdoctoral research associate at Dartmouth College as part of the McMurdo Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program in Antarctica (2007-2010). At ASU, she is the program lead for the Environmental Science majors offered by the School of Mathematical and Natural Sciences in New College of Interdisiciplinary Arts and Sciences, and a senior sustainability scientist with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability.

Professor Ball's primary research interests are soil biogeochemistry and ecosystem ecology. Her field- and laboratory-based research seeks to increase our mechanistic understanding of soil biogeochemical (nutrient cycling) processes and how they are being impacted by human-induced environmental change. To address these topics, she has worked in a variety of systems (including temperate deciduous forests, agricultural systems, and polar and hot deserts) to examine consequences of various types of human-induced environmental change (including species diversity, climate change, and land use), and have involved a variety of cross-system comparisons (including terrestrial-aquatic, above- and belowground, and cross-site).

Fax

602/543-6073

Education

  • Ph.D. Ecology, University of Georgia 2007
  • B.A. (Honors) Biology, Goucher College 2002

Google Scholar

Research Interests

Dr. Becky Ball's research focuses on the factors that control nutrient dynamics and decomposition in soils. Dr. Ball works to improve our mechanistic understanding of soil biogeochemical processes to allow improved predictions of how these processes will be affected by global change. Current work is focused on soil biodiversity and biogeochemistry in Antarctica, as well as the Sonoran Desert through the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research program (CAP-LTER). Her lab works to understand how deserts (both hot and cold) will respond to various forms of global change.

Publications

  • Ball, B.A. and J. Alvarez Guevara. The nutrient plasticity of moss-dominated crust in the urbanized Sonoran Desert. Plant and Soil (2015).
  • Ball, B.A. and J.S. Levy. Water tracks alter biotic and abiotic soil properties and processes in a polar desert in Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences (2015).
  • Ball, B.A., C.R. Tellez, and R.A. Virginia. Penguin activity influences soil biology, biogeochemistry, and soil respiration in rookeries on Ross Island, Antarctica. Polar Biology (2015).
  • Nielsen, U.N. and B.A. Ball (co-leads). Impacts of altered precipitation regimes on soil communities and biogeochemistry in arid and semi-arid ecosystems. Global Change Biology (2015).
  • Ball, B.A. and R. Virginia. Microbial biomass and respiration responses to nitrogen fertilization in a polar desert. Polar Biology (2014).
  • Ball, B.A. and R. Virginia. The ecological role of moss in a polar desert: implications for aboveground-belowground and terrestrial-aquatic linkages. Polar Biology (2014).
  • Ball, B.A., Y. Carrillo, M. Molina. The influence of litter composition across the litter-soil interface on mass loss, nitrogen dynamics and the decomposer community. Soil Biology & Biochemistry (2014).
  • Levy, O., B.A. Ball (co-leads), et al. Approaches to advance scientific understanding of macrosystems ecology. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (2014).
  • Ball, B.A. and R. Virginia. Meltwater seep patches increase heterogeneity of soil geochemistry and therefore habitat suitability. Geoderma (2012).
  • Carrillo, Y., B. Ball, M. Strickland, M. Bradford. Legacies of plant litter on carbon and nitrogen dynamics and the role of the soil community. Pedobiologia (2012).
  • Magalhães, C., M.I. Stevens, S.C. Cary, B.A. Ball, B.C. Storey, D.H. Wall, R. Türk, U. Ruprecht. At the limits of life: multidisciplinary insights reveals environmental constraints on biotic diversity in continental Antarctica. PLoS ONE (2012).
  • Nielsen, U.N., D.H. Wall, B. J. Adams, R.A. Virginia, B.A. Ball, M.N. Gooseff, D.M. McKnight. The ecology of pulse events: insights from an extreme climatic event in a polar desert ecosystem. Ecosphere (2012).
  • Carrillo, Y., B. Ball, M. Bradford, C. Jordan, M. Molina. Soil fauna alter the effect of litter composition on nitrogen cycling in a mineral soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry (2011).
  • Ball, B.A., J. E. Barrett, M.N. Gooseff, R.A. Virginia, D.H. Wall. Implications of meltwater pulse events for soil biology and biogeochemical cycling in a polar desert. (2011).
  • Ball, B.A., J.S. Kominoski, H.E. Adams, S.E. Jones, E.S. Kane, T.D. Loecke, W. Mahaney, J. Martina, C.M. Prather, T.M.P. Robinson, C.T. Solomon. Direct and terrestrial vegetation-mediated effects of environmental change on aquatic ecosystem processes. BioScience (2010).

Research Activity

  • Ball,Becky, Lerman, Richard, Sandrin, Susie. Polar (DCL- 16-119): Development and Evaluation of an Interdisciplinary Course-based Undergraduate Research Experience in Arctic Sciences. NSF OPP(8/15/2017 - 7/31/2020).
  • Ball,Becky*. Collaborative Research: EAGER: Pathways and Patterns of Litter Chemistry During Decomposition. NSF-BIO(6/1/2015 - 5/31/2017).
  • Ball,Becky*. Collaborative Research: Climactic and environmental constraints on aboveground-belowground linkages and diversity across a latitudinal gradient in Ant. NSF-PLR(10/1/2014 - 9/30/2016).
  • Dietrich,Suzanne Wagner*, Ball,Becky, Borror,Connie Margaret, Crook,Sharon Marie, Crook,Sharon Marie, Kobojek,Kimberly Sue. Collaborative Research: Databases for Many Majors: Customizable Visualizations to Improve STEM Learning. NSF-EHR(9/1/2014 - 8/31/2017).

Courses

Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 422 Ecosystem Ecology
LSC 493 Honors Thesis
ENV 499 Individualized Instruction
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
LSC 598 Special Topics
Fall 2017
Course Number Course Title
ENV 201 Environmental Science
ENV 310 Soil Science
LSC 484 Internship
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
ENV 499 Individualized Instruction
LSC 598 Special Topics
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
ENV 310 Soil Science
BIO 422 Ecosystem Ecology
LSC 493 Honors Thesis
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
LSC 484 Internship
LSC 492 Honors Directed Study
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
BIO 499 Individualized Instruction
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
LSC 493 Honors Thesis
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
ENV 201 Environmental Science
LSC 362 The Human Environment
LSC 484 Internship
LSC 492 Honors Directed Study
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Summer 2015
Course Number Course Title
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
LSC 322 Fundamentals of Ecology Lab
LSC 362 The Human Environment
LSC 492 Honors Directed Study
LSC 493 Honors Thesis
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2014
Course Number Course Title
SOS 110 Sustainable World
LSC 362 The Human Environment
LSC 484 Internship
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Summer 2014
Course Number Course Title
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Spring 2014
Course Number Course Title
SOS 110 Sustainable World
LSC 322 Fundamentals of Ecology Lab
LSC 492 Honors Directed Study
LSC 493 Honors Thesis
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction
Fall 2013
Course Number Course Title
LSC 484 Internship
SOS 493 Honors Thesis
LSC 499 Individualized Instruction

Presentations

  • Becky A. Ball, K. Hughes, D. Van Horn, U. Nielsen, P. Convey. Climatic and environmental constraints on aboveground-belowground linkages and diversity across a latitudinal gradient on the Antarctica Peninsula. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research: Biology Symposium, Leuven, Belgium (July 2017).
  • Becky A. Ball, L. Christenson, K. Wickings. Pathways and patterns of plant litter chemistry throughout decomposition. Soil Ecology Society Biennial Meeting, Fort Collins, CO (Jun 2017).
  • Becky A. Ball, S.J Hall. The impacts of urbanization on soil biogeochemistry and biodiversity in the Sonoran Desert. International Long-Term Ecological Research Network 1st Open Science Meeting, Skukuza, South Africa (Oct 2016).
  • Becky A. Ball, U.N. Nielsen, D. Van Horn, P. Convey. Plant-soil environment and microbial communities across a latitudinal gradient. Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research Biennial Open Science Conference, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Aug 2016).
  • Becky A. Ball. Aboveground-belowground connections in Antarctic soil ecosystems. Portland State University Lester Newman Seminar Series, Portland, OR (May 2015).
  • Becky A. Ball, K. Wickings, L. Christenson. Synthesizing the vision for decomposition in the Anthropocene. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Fort Lauderdale, FL (Aug 2016).
  • Becky A. Ball, U.N. Nielsen, D. Van Horn, P. Convey. Aboveground-belowground linkages and soil biodiversity across a latitudinal gradient in Antarctica. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD (Aug 2015).
  • Becky A. Ball, J.S. Levy. Water tracks alter biotic and abiotic soil properties and processes in Antarctic soils. Soil Ecology Society Biennial Meeting, Colorado Springs, CO (Jun 2015).
  • Becky A. Ball, Yolima Carrillo, Marirosa Molina. Litter composition effects on decomposition across the litter-soil interface. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting (Aug 2013).
  • Becky A. Ball and Joseph S. Levy. Hidden hydrology and soil biology: The influence of water tracks on soil biological activity in a polar desert of Antarctica. Soil Ecology Society Biennial Meeting (Jun 2013).
  • Becky A. Ball. The influence of meltwater pulses on soil biology and biogeochemistry in a polar desert of Antarctica. ASU School of Life Sciences Hugh Hanson Ecology and Evolution Seminar Series (Feb 2013).
  • Becky A. Ball. Extreme biogeochemistry: the influence of water-pulse events in polar desert soils of Antarctica. ASU College of Technology & Innovation - Applied Sciences Seminar (Jan 2013).
  • Ball, Becky A. and Virginia, Ross A. Moss nutrient plasticity in desert ecosystems: insights from a hot desert comparison. Long Term Ecological Research Network All-Scientist Meeting (Sep 2012).
  • Ball, Becky A. and Virginia, Ross A. Moss nutrient plasticity in a polar desert: insights from a hot desert comparison. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting (Aug 2012).
  • Becky A. Ball, Ross A. Virginia, Byron J. Adams, J.E. Barrett, Diana H. Wall. Extreme stoichiometry: nutrient limitation and fertilization in polar desert soils. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting (Aug 2011).
  • Ball, Becky A. and Virginia, Ross A. Permafrost melt seep patches increase heterogeneity of soil geochemistry and therefore habitat suitablity. Soil Ecology Society Biennial Meeting (May 2011).
  • Becky A. Ball and Ross A. Virginia. The response of soil biogeochemical cycling and microbial stoichiometry to water pulse events in a polar desert. New College Homecoming Academic Expo (Oct 2010).

Honors/Awards

2015: Outstanding Teaching-T/TT Faculty 2014-2015, New College of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, ASU

2011-present: Senior Sustainability Scientist, Global Institute of Sustainability, Arizona State University

2002-present: Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society

Service

  • Desert Soils Blog, author (2014 - Present)
  • Soil Ecology Society, Secretary (2014 - 2017)
  • Ecology Explorers "Meet the Scientist", Video - content & narration (2013 - Present)
  • The Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN), Scientific reviewer (2012 - Present)
  • Polar Soils Blog, author (2010 - Present)
  • Ecological Society of America - Soil Ecology Section, Secretary (2015 - 2017)
  • Sustainability Solutions Festival, Panelist (2015 - 2015)
  • Terramar Elementary School, Speaker (2015 - 2015)
  • Herberger Young Scholars Academy, Speaker (2014 - 2014)
  • 2013 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, Grand Awards Judge (2013 - 2013)
  • Hawken School, Speaker (2013 - 2013)
  • Wildfire Elementary School, Speaker (2013 - 2013)
  • Ecology Explorers Teacher Workshop, Speaker (2012 - 2012)
  • ASU Retired Faculty Wives and Retired Faculty Women's Club, Speaker (2011 - 2011)
  • Herberger Young Scholars Academy, Speaker (2011 - 2011)