Christopher Picone, Ph.D., Biology and Chemistry | Fitchburg State University
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Faculty Directory » Christopher Picone


Office Hours:

Semester: Fall 2020
Inperson in SCI 336 or via Google Meet
Monday 11:00am - 12:15pm
Thursday 11:00am - 12:15pm

Office Information:

Room Number: Antonucci Science Complex 336
Phone: 978.665.3079

Courses Taught:

Environmental Science (with lab) (BIOL 1010)
General Biology II (with lab) (BIOL 1900)
Ecology (with lab) (BIOL 2300)
Conservation Biology (BIOL 3100)
Physical Science of Environmental change (content institute for teachers)


Ph.D., University Of Michigan (Ecology), 1999. Thesis: Comparative ecology of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in lowland tropical forest and pasture
B.A., College of the Holy Cross (Biology summa cum laude), 1990

Research Interests:

Ecology of agricultural systems compared to "natural" systems, especially the interactions between plants and beneficial soil fungi (mycorrhizal fungi)
Effects of plowing (tillage) on mycorrhizal fungi
Impacts of aquatic herbicides on pond-breeding frogs
Ecological education: Assessing and confronting student misconceptions concerning transformation of energy and matter in ecosystems

Representative Publications:


Brummer, C.E. et al. (2002). "Breeding perennial grain crops." Critical Reviews in Plant Sciences, 21(2), pp. 59-91.

Cox, T.S. et al. (2004). "Research priorities in natural systems agriculture." Journal of Crop Improvement, 12(1-2), pp. 511- 532. doi: 10.1300/J411v12n01_10

Hyatt, L. et al. (2007). "Assessing gains in undergraduate students' abilities to analyze graphical data." Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, 5.

Picone, C. (2000). "Diversity and abundance of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus spores in tropical forest and pasture." Biotropica 32(4), pp. 734-750. doi: 10.1646/0006-3606(2000)032[0734:DAAOAM]2.0.CO;2

Picone, C. (2000). "Wheat as part of a soil community: a history of cooperation with fungi." The Land Report, 67, pp. 6-7.

Picone, C. (2002). "Natural systems of soil fertility: the webs beneath our feet." The Land Report, 73, pp. 3-7.

Picone, C. (2015). "Effects of aquatic herbicides and housing density on abundance of pond-breeding frogs." Northeastern Naturalist, 22(1), pp.  26-39. doi: 10.1656/045.022.0122

Book Chapters

Picone, C. (2003). "Managing mycorrhizae for a sustainable agriculture in the tropics." In J. Vandermeer (Ed.), Advances in Agroecology – Tropical agroecosystems (pp. 93-130). Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Picone, C. & Vantassel, D. (2002). "Agriculture and biodiversity loss: industrial agriculture." In N. Eldredge (Ed.), Life on Earth: An Encyclopedia of Biodiversity, Ecology, and Evolution (pp. 99-105). Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Professional Affiliations:

ESA - Ecological Society of America (Soil microbial ecology, agro-ecology, and education sections)
Soil Ecology Society
NWAEG - New World Agriculture and Ecology Group