Profile – Kate Tully

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Kate Tully

Job Title:

Assistant Professor


Phone Number:



Google Scholar Profile


Kate Tully is an Assistant Professor of Agroecology in the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture. She comes to the University of Maryland from Columbia University’s Earth Institute and the Agriculture and Food Security Center. Her research at Columbia took her to Kenya and Tanzania where she studied the effects of increased fertilizer application in smallholder farming systems. Her research focuses on improving yields and minimizing environmental harm, and is producing some of the first data on environmental impacts necessary for developing sustainable agriculture strategies in this understudied region of the world. Kate is bringing her innovative and integrative research to the State of Maryland to help support agricultural systems that can provide both food and ecosystem services to the region.

Her research assesses the sustainability of food production systems by examining their effects on interactions among plants, soils, carbon, nutrient, and water cycles. Her work in the Mid-Atantic examines how to balance farm productivity and ecosystem services. Along with collaborators at the USDA, she studies how cover crops can promote efficient on-farm nutrient cycling, sequester carbon, and improve water quality. On the lower eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, she is researching saltwater intrusion (the landward movement of saltwater from the ocean) is increasing the potential for large pulses of nutrient release from cultivated lands – with devastating consequences for both agriculture and the environment.

Research Areas:

  • Agroecology
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Sustainable agriculture

Current N-related Projects:

  • Fate of N in intensifying agriculture in African maize systems
  • Saltwater-induced N release from coastal farms
  • Fate of N in mid-Atlantic cover crop systems


Hickman JE, Palm CA, Tully K, Diru W, Groffman PM. 2017. Non-linear response of nitric oxide fluxes to fertilizer inputs and the impacts of agricultural intensification on tropospheric ozone pollution in Kenya. Global Change Biology. Online: DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13644

Tully K, M, Hickman JE, McKenna M, Neill C, Palm CP. 2016. Fertilizer application alters vertical distributions and temporal dynamics of soil inorganic nitrogen in continuous maize systems in East Africa. Ecological Applications 26:1907-1919.

Tully K, Wood SA, Neill C, Palm CP. 2015. The effect of African Green Revolution interventions on nitrogen balances in smallholder maize farms in Western Kenya. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment 214:10-20.

Hickman JE, Tully K, Groffman PM, Diru W, Palm CA. 2015. A potential tipping point in tropical agriculture: Avoiding rapid increases in nitrous oxide fluxes from agricultural intensification in Kenya. JGR-Biogeosciences. 120:938-951.

Tully K, Weil R. 2014. Ion selective electrode offers accurate, inexpensive method for analyzing soil solution nitrate in remote regions. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis. 45:1974-1980.

Rosenstock T, Tully K, Arias-Navarro C, Butterbach-Bahl K, Neufeldt H, Verchot L. 2014. Agroforestry with N-fixing trees: Sustainable developmentā€™s friend or foe? Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 6:15-21.

Tully K, Lawrence D, Wood SA. 2013. Organically managed coffee agroforests have larger soil phosphorus but smaller soil nitrogen pools than conventionally managed agroforests. Biogeochemistry, 115:385-397.

Tully, K, Wood SA, Lawrence D. 2013. Fertilizer type and species composition affect nutrient leachate in coffee agroecosystems. Agroforestry Systems. 87:1083-1100.

Tully K, Wood TE, Schwantes AM, Lawrence D. 2013. Soil nutrient availability and reproductive effort drive patterns in nutrient resorption in Pentaclethra macroloba. Ecology. 94:930-940.

Tully K, Lawrence D, Scanlon TM. 2012. More trees less loss: Nitrogen losses decrease with increasing biomass in coffee agroforests. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment. 161:137-144.

Tully K, and Lawrence D. 2012. Canopy and leaf composition drive patterns of nutrient release from pruning residues in a coffee agroforest. Ecological Applications. 22:1330-1344.

Tully K, Lawrence D. 2011. Closing the Loop: Nutrient balances in organic and conventional coffee agroforests. Journal of Sustainable Development, 35: 671-695.

Tully K, Lawrence D. 2010. Declines in leaf litter nitrogen linked to rising temperatures in a wet tropical forest. BIOTROPICA. 42: 526-530.