Affiliated Faculty

EPS Faculty
EPS Faculty
Weixin Cheng
  • Pronouns he, him, his, his, himself
  • Title
    • Professor
  • Division Social Sciences Division
  • Department
    • Environmental Studies Department
  • Affiliations Earth & Planetary Sciences Department
  • Phone
  • Email
  • Website
  • Office Location
    • Interdisciplinary Sciences Building, 430
    • 468 NS2
  • Office Hours
  • Mail Stop Environmental Studies
  • Mailing Address
    • 1156 High Street
    • Santa Cruz CA 95064
  • Courses ENVS 161A (Soils & Plant Nutirtion), ENVS 196 (Carbon Cycle Science and Policy implications)

Summary of Expertise

Rhizosphere Ecology, Carbon and Nitrogen Cycles, Isotope Ecology, Ecosystem Responses to Environmental Change

Research Interests

Rhizosphere ecology and Method Development, Global Environmental Change and Soil Processes, Connect Plant Canopy with Soil Processes, Soils and Agroecosystems

Biography, Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, Systems Ecology Research Group, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA (1990-1992)

Ph.D. in Ecology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA (1989)

B.S. in Agronomy, Northeast Agricultural University, Harbin, China (1982)

Honors, Awards and Grants


Martin M. Chemers Award for Outstanding Research, Division of Social Sciences, UC Santa Cruz (2019)

Paech Visiting Professorship in Agriculture, Sydney Institute of Agriculture, The University of Sydney, Australia (2019)

National Science Foundation Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Service (2008)


Rhizosphere priming and C-N dynamics in grassland ecosystems in transition. The National Science Foundation (2014-2019)

Linking Soil CO2 Emissions with Microbial Metabolism. UCSC Senate Committee on Research (2013)

Partitioning responses of rhizosphere respiration and soil carbon decomposition to warming and altered precipitation in a grassland ecosystem. US Department of Energy, National Institute for Climate Change, Mid-West Region (2009-2011)

Link Rhizosphere Priming to Temperature Sensitivity of Soil Carbon Decomposition. Kearney Foundation of Soil Science, University of California (2009-2011)

Carbon and nitrogen interchange in the rhizosphere: Sensitivity to temperature and water dynamics. US Department of Agriculture, National Research Initiative Competitive Grant Program (2006-2010)

Selected Publications

(For the complete list see google scholar:Weixin Cheng-Google Scholar)

Dijkstra FA, Zhu B, Cheng WX. 2020. Tansley Insights--Root effects on soil organic carbon: a double-edged sword. New Phytologist. (Early View)

Lu J, Yang J, Keitel C, Yin L, Wang P, Cheng WX, Dijkstra FA. 2020. Rhizosphere priming effects of Lolium perenne and Trifolium repens depend on phosphorus fertilization and biological nitrogen fixation. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. (Online First)

Yin Y, Xiao W, Dijkstra FA, Zhu B, Wang P, Cheng WX. 2020. Linking absorptive roots and their functional traits with rhizosphere priming of tree species. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. (Online first)

Wang X, Yin L, Dijkstra DA, Lu J, Wang P, Cheng WX. 2020. Rhizosphere priming is tightly associated with root-driven aggregate turnover. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 149: 107964 (Online First)

Vargas, TD,  Concilio A,  Woyann LG,  Santos RHS, Cheng WX. 2020. Rhizosphere priming effect on N mineralization in vegetable and grain crop systems. Plant and Soil

Eldon J, Baird G, Sidibeh S, Daniel Dobasin D, Rapaport P, Cheng WX, Shennan C. 2020. On-farm trials identify adaptive management options for rainfed agriculture in West Africa. Agricultural Systems 182: 102819

He Y, Cheng WX, Zhou L, Shao J, Liu H, Zhou H, Zhu K, Zhou X. 2020. Soil DOC release and aggregate disruption mediate rhizosphere priming effect on soil C decomposition. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 144 (Online First)

Loeppmann S, Forbush K, Cheng WX, Pausch J. Subsoil biogeochemical properties induce shifts in carbon allocation pattern and soil C dynamics in wheat. Plant and Soil 442: 369-383.

Huo C, Cheng WX. 2019. Improved root turnover assessment using field scanning rhizotrons with branch order analysis. Ecosphere 10(8)

Lu J, Dijkstra FA, Wang P, Cheng WX. 2019. Roots of non-woody perennials accelerated long-term soil organic matter decomposition through biological and physical mechanisms. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 134: 42-53.

Tang M, Keck DC, Cheng WX, Zeng H, Zhu B. 2019. Linking rhizosphere respiration rate of three grassland species with root nitrogen concentration. Geoderma 346: 84-90.

Yin L. , Dijkstra FA, Wang P, Zhu B, Cheng WX. 2018. Rhizosphere priming effects on soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics among tree species with and without intraspecific competition. New Phytologist 218: 1036-1048.

Huo C, Luo Y, Cheng WX. 2017. Rhizosphere priming effect: A meta-analysis. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 111: 78-84.

Cheng WX, Parton WJ, Gonzalez-Meler MA et al, 2014. Tansley Review: Synthesis and modeling perspectives of rhizosphere priming. New Phytologist 201: 31-44.

Teaching Interests

Global Environment, Soil Science, Biogeochemistry, Isotope ecology, Soil quality & food security, Agroecology, Carbon Cycle Science & Societal Implications