Marney Isaac

Marney Isaac

Associate Professor
Environmental Science

Research Interests: 

My research program applies ecological principles to agricultural landscapes, with particular attention on identifying and developing strategies for environmental services and system resilience.  The Isaac lab investigates practices that improve the efficiency of nutrient cycles, optimize plant-soil interactions, and promote landscape scale services in low-input agriculture and agroforestry systems. [article on research program and media coverage on new publication]. Our research approach makes use of a diverse set of technical tools and employs various temporal and spatial scales:  from mechanistic manipulative trials at the rhizosphere scale to large agroecosystem dynamics.

The study of agricultural landscapes also offers a platform to understand human-environment interactions and the environmental resiliency of the agriculture sector, essential to the livelihoods of many rural producers.  I lead an international research program investigating information networks, resource management, innovation in social-agroecological systems. This research was recently featured in an article by AUCC.


  • Gagliardi, S., A.R. Martin, E. de M. Virginio Filho, B. Rapidel and M.E. Isaac. 2015. Intraspecific leaf economic trait variation partially explains coffee performance across agroforestry management regimes. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 200: 151–160.
  • Borden, K.A., M.E. Isaac, N.V. Thevathasan, A.M. Gordon and S.C. Thomas. 2014. Estimating coarse root biomass with ground penetrating radar in a tree-based intercropping system. Agroforestry Systems 88: 657-669.
  • Isaac, M.E., L.C.N. Anglaaere, K. Borden and S. Adu-Bredu. 2014. Intraspecific root plasticity in agroforestry systems across edaphic conditions. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 185: 16-23.
  • Makhani, M. and M.E. Isaac. 2014. Rhizosphere soil dynamics under nitrogen-induced root modification: the interaction of phosphorus and calcium. Journal of Plant Nutrition and Soil Science 177: 624-632.
  • Isaac, M.E., L.C.N. Anglaaere, D.S, Akoto and E. Dawoe. 2014. Migrant farmers as information brokers: agroecosystem management in the transition zone of Ghana. Ecology and Society 19(2): 56.
  • Munroe, J.W. and M.E. Isaac. 2014. Rates and transfer of fixed N in woody perennial agroforestry systems: a review. Agronomy for Sustainable Development 34: 417–427.
  • Isaac, M.E., G. Carlsson, C. Ghoulam, M. Makhani, N.V. Thevathasan and A. Gordon. 2014. Legume performance and nitrogen acquisition strategies in a tree-based agroecosystem. Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems 38: 686–703.
  • Isaac, M.E. and L.C.N Anglaaere. 2013. An in-situ approach to detect tree root ecology: Linking ground penetrating radar imaging to isotope derived water acquisition zones. Ecology and Evolution 3: 1330-1339.
  • Isaac, M.E. 2012. Agricultural information exchange and organizational ties: the effect of network topology on managing agrodiversity. Agricultural Systems 109: 9-15.
  • Whitehead, M. and M.E. Isaac. 2012. Effects of shade on nitrogen and phosphorus acquisition in cereal-legume intercropping systems. Special Issue: Soil biology and its importance to soil fertility. Agriculture 2: 12-24.
  • Isaac, M.E., P. Hinsinger and J.M. Harmand. 2012.  Nitrogen and phosphorus economy of a legume tree-cereal intercropping system under controlled conditions. Science of the Total Environment 434: 71-78.
  • Dawoe, E., S.J. Quashie-Sam, M.E. Isaac, and S.K. Oppong. 2012. Exploring farmers local knowledge and perceptions of soil fertility and management in the Ashanti Region of Ghana.  Geoderma 179-180: 96-103.
  • Isaac, M.E. and Kimaro, A.A. 2011. Diagnosis of nutrient imbalances with vector analysis in agroforestry systems. Journal of Environmental Quality 40: 1-7.
  • Isaac, M.E., Harmand, J.M., Lesueur, D. and Lelon, J. 2011. Tree age and soil phosphorus conditions influence N2-fixation rates and soil N dynamics in natural populations of Acacia senegal. Forest Ecology and Management 261: 582-588.
  • Isaac, M.E., E. Adjei, R. Issaka and V.R. Timmer. 2011. Strategies for improved tree-perennial crop productivity: exponential nutrient loading and cocoa-shade interactions Agroforestry Systems 81: 147-155.
  • Dawoe, E., M.E. Isaac and S.J. Quashie-Sam. 2010. Litterfall dynamics in cocoa-agroforestry systems of lowland Ghana. Plant and Soil 330: 55-64.
  • Isaac, M.E., E. Dawoe and K. Sieciechowicz. 2009. Assessing localized knowledge use in agroforestry management with cognitive maps. Environmental Management 43: 1321-1329.

For more publications see: