Doctor Yolima Carrillo

KEYWORDS: soil carbon, nutrient cycling, rhizosphere processes, elevated CO2, drought, soil organic matter

Doctor Yolima Carrillo is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute. Her research focuses on the cycles of carbon and nutrients in terrestrial ecosystems, both natural and agricultural. She is interested in the mechanisms by which these cycles are affected by environmental change and management. She studies belowground biogeochemical processes and how they are shaped by plants, plant roots and soil biotic communities.

Biographical details

Prior to joining HIE she worked as a Teaching and Research Fellow at the Department of Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Sydney, which she joined after doing post-doctoral work at the University of Wyoming (USA). She obtained a PhD in Ecology at the University of Georgia (USA) where she also obtained a graduate certificate in Conservation Ecology. Dr Carrillo completed her undergraduate studies at the National University of Colombia

Research interests

Dr Carrillo combines field and laboratory experiments to answer questions at the ecosystem level at the plant-soil-microbe interface. As tools for her research she has used a variety of applications of stable isotope tracers of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen, microbial and whole soil community assessments as well as various chemical approaches to the analyses of pools an fluxes of carbon, nitrogen and other nutrients in plants, soil, soil microbes and the atmosphere.

Her current areas of interest include:

  • Rhizosphere mediation of soil organic matter dynamics, including decomposition and formation, as affected by climate change factors (including elevated CO2, warming and water stress)
  • Mechanisms of impact of water stress and water availability on carbon cycling, stoichiometric relations and microbial communities in soil and potential feedbacks to climate
  • Mediation by plant roots on plant water use and plant and microbes nitrogen uptake via impacts on the soil physical environment
  • Role of mycorrhizal symbionts on soil organic matter dynamics
  • Response of biogeochemical processes and microbial communities to ecosystem restoration


She co-founded and also co-leads the Stable Isotope in Biosphere Systems, a multi-institutional intensive  8-day annual workshop directed at researchers of all levels seeking to enhance or bring stable isotope techniques to their work. (opens in a new window) (opens in a new window)

Her teaching at Western Sydney University involves contributions to various units: Climate Change Science, Ecosystem Carbon Accounting, Ecosystems in a Changing World and Botany

Grants/Current projects

Will trees get enough nitrogen to sustain productivity in elevated CO2? Australian Research Council Discovery project.  In collaboration David Ellsworth, Oula Ghannoum (HIE, Western Sydney University) and Dr. Sönke Zaehle (Max Plank Institute for Biogeochemistry). The research utilises the Eucalypt Free Air CO2 Enrichment experiment (EucFACE), the world's only Free Air CO2 Enrichment experiment in native forest and in mature forest.

Pastures and Climate Extremes. Western Sydney University, Meat and Livestock Australia and Dairy Australia.  The research used the PACE facility which manipulates climate to simulate extreme climate conditions, including heatwaves, droughts and changes in rainfall regimes in pasture systems.

Biogeochemical mismatches: decoupling of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycles during drought. Australian Research Council project. In collaboration with Uffe Nielsen, Thomas Jeffries (Western Sydney University), Feike Dijkstra (University of Sydney), Osvaldo Sala (Arizona State University)

Future nutrient limitations across terrestrial ecosystems: a dual look at nitrogen and phosphorus. The Swedish Research Council, Formas, Sweden. In collaboration with Louise Andresen, Tobias Rütting (University of Gothenburg), Klaus Jarosch (University of Bern)

Searching for meaningful belowground indicators of ecosystem threatened ecosystem restoration and rehabilitation of degraded land. In collaboration with Bryony Horton, Ian Oliver, Office of Environment and Heritage, New South Wales

Drought and fertility effects on plant/microbe N:P stoichiometry and root morphology and feedbacks to climate change (In collaboration with Dr. David Tissue, Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment and Dr. Feike Dijkstra, University of Sydney)

The role of plant root activity in shaping the fate of water and nitrogen and their availability to plants via its impact on soil structure. In collaboration with Asoc. Prof. Margaret Barbour and Asoc. Prof. Feike Dijkstra, University of Sydney and Assist. Prof. Kevin Simonin, San Francisco State University.

Selected publications

Gilarte P, Pendall E, Carrillo Y, Nielsen UN, (2021) 'Plant functional identity has predictable effects on nematode communities across successional stages', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.162, Article no.108406

Hassan K, Carrillo Y, Nielsen UN, (2021) 'The effect of prolonged drought legacies on plant–soil feedbacks', Journal of Vegetation Science, vol.32, no.6, e13100

Pineiro J, Pathare V, Ochoa-Hueso R, Carrillo Y, Power SA, (2021) 'No CO2 fertilization effect on plant growth despite enhanced rhizosphere enzyme activity in a low phosphorus soil', Plant and Soil, Article no.12308

Terrer C, Phillips RP, Hungate BA, Rosende J, Pett-Ridge J, Craig ME, van Groenigen KJ, Keenan TF, Sulman BN, Stocker BD, Reich PB, Pellegrini AFA, Pendall E, Zhang H, Evans RD, Carrillo Y, Fisher JB, Van Sundert K, Vicca S, Jackson RB, (2021) 'A trade-off between plant and soil carbon storage under elevated CO2', Nature, vol.591, no.7851, pp 599-603

Ullah MR, Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, (2021) 'Biocides provide a source of carbon and nitrogen directly to surviving microbes and indirectly through a pulse in microbial necromass', Applied Soil Ecology, vol.160, Article no.103862

Ullah MR, Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, (2021) 'Drought-induced and seasonal variation in carbon use efficiency is associated with fungi:bacteria ratio and enzyme production in a grassland ecosystem', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.155, Article no.108159

Yu H, Deng Y, He Z, Pendall E, Carrillo Y, Wang S, Jin D, Wu L, Wang A, Xu Y, Liu B, Tai X, Zhou J, (2021) 'Stimulation of soil microbial functioning by elevated CO2 may surpass effects mediated by irrigation in a semiarid grassland', Geoderma, vol.4011, Article no.115162

Zhang H, Powell JR, Plett JM, Churchill AC, Power SA, Macdonald CA, Jacob V, Kim GW, Pendall E, Tissue D, Catunda KM, Igwenagu C, Carrillo Y, Moore BD, Anderson IC, (2021) 'Climate warming negates arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal reductions in soil phosphorus leaching with tall fescue but not lucerne', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.152, Article no.108075

Zhang H, Powell JR, Power SA, Churchill AC, Plett JM, Macdonald CA, Jacob V, Kim GW, Pendall E, Tissue DT, Catunda KLM, Igwenagu C, Carrillo Y, Moore BD, Anderson IC, (2021) 'Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal-mediated reductions in N2O emissions were not impacted by experimental warming for two common pasture species', Pedobiologia, vol.s 87-88, Article no.150744

Andresen LC, Carrillo Y, Macdonald CA, Castaneda-Gomez L, Bode S, Rutting T, (2020) 'Nitrogen dynamics after two years of elevated CO(2) in phosphorus limited Eucalyptus woodland', Biogeochemistry, vol.150, no.3, pp 297-312

Castañeda-Gómez L, Walker JKM, Powell JR, Ellsworth DS, Pendall E, Carrillo Y, (2020) 'Impacts of elevated carbon dioxide on carbon gains and losses from soil and associated microbes in a Eucalyptus woodland', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.143, Article no.107734

Gilarte P, Plett J, Pendall E, Carrillo Y, Nielsen UN, (2020) 'Direct and indirect trophic interactions of soil nematodes impact chickpea and oat nutrition', Plant and Soil, vol.457, pp 255–268

He Z, Deng Y, Xu M, Li J, Liang J, Xiong J, Yu H, Wu B, Wu L, Xue K, Shi S, Carrillo Y, Van Nostrand JD, Hobbie SE, Reich PB, Schadt CW, Kent AD, Pendall E, Wallenstein M, Luo Y, Yan Q, Zhou J (2020) 'Microbial functional genes commonly respond to elevated carbon dioxide', Environmental International, vol.144, Article no.106068

Jiang M, Medlyn BE, Drake JE, Duursma RA, Anderson IC, Barton CVM, Boer MM, Carrillo Y, Castaneda-Gomez L, Collins L, Crous KY, De Kauwe MG, dos Santos BM, Emmerson KM, Facey SL, Gherlenda AN, Gimeno TE, Hasegawa S, Johnson SN, Kannaste A, Macdonald CA, Mahmud K, Moore BD, Nazaries L, Neilson EHJ, Nielsen UN, Niinemets U, Noh NJ, Ochoa-Hueso R, Pathare VS, Pendall E, Pihlblad J, Pineiro J, Powell JR, Power SA, Reich PB, Renchon AA, Riegler M, Rinnan R, Rymer PD, Salomon RL, Singh BK, Smith B, Tjoelker MG, Walker JKM, Wujeska-Klause A, Yang JY, Zaehle S, Ellsworth DS, (2020) 'The fate of carbon in a mature forest under carbon dioxide enrichment', Nature, vol.580, no.7802, pp 227-231

Wong-Bajracharya J, Castañeda-Gómez L, Plett KL, Anderson IC, Carrillo Y, Plett JM, (2020) 'Untangling the effect of roots and mutualistic ectomycorrhizal fungi on soil metabolite profiles under ambient and elevated carbon dioxide', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.151, Article no.108021

Drake JE, Furze ME, Tjoelker MG, Carrillo Y, Barton CVM, Pendall E, (2019) 'Climate warming and tree carbon use efficiency in a whole-tree (CO2)-C-13 tracer study', New Phytologist, vol.222, no.3, pp 1313-1324

Fry EL, De Long JR, Alvarez Garrido L, Alvarez N, Carrillo Y, Castaneda-Gomez L, Chomel M, Dondini M, Drake JE, Hasegawa S, Hortal S, Jackson BG, Jiang MK, Lavallee JM, Medlyn BE, Rhymes J, Singh BK, Smith P, Anderson IC, Bardgett RD, Baggs EM, Johnson D, (2019) 'Using plant, microbe, and soil fauna traits to improve the predictive power of biogeochemical models', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol.10, no.1, pp 146-157

Carrillo Y, Dijkstra F, LeCain D, Blumenthal D, Pendall E, (2018) 'Elevated CO2 and warming cause interactive effects on soil carbon and shifts in carbon use by bacteria', Ecology Letters, vol.21, no.11, pp 1639-1648

Dijkstra FA, Carrillo Y, Blumenthal DM, Mueller KE, LeCain DR, Morgan JA, Zelikova TJ, Williams DG, Follett RF, Pendall E, (2018) 'Elevated CO2 and water addition enhance nitrogen turnover in grassland plants with implications for temporal stability', Ecology Letters, vol.21, no.5, pp 674-682

Ryan EM, Ogle K, Kropp H, Samuels-Crow KE, Carrillo Y, Pendall E, (2018) 'Modeling soil CO2 production and transport with dynamic source and diffusion terms: testing the steady-state assumption using DETECT v1.0', Geoscientific Model Development, vol.11, no.5, pp 1909-1928

Xue P-P, Carrillo Y, Pino V, Minasny B, McBratney AB, (2018) 'Soil Properties Drive Microbial Community Structure in a Large Scale Transect in South Eastern Australia', Scientific Reports, vol.8, no.1, Article no.11725

Carrillo Y, Bell C, Koyama A, Canarini A, Boot CM, Wallenstein M, Pendall E, (2017) 'Plant traits, stoichiometry and microbes as drivers of decomposition in the rhizosphere in a temperate grassland', Journal of Ecology, vol.105, no.6, pp 1750-1765, Special Issue: SI

De Kauwe MG, Medlyn BE, Walker AP, Zaehle S, Asao S, Guenet B, Harper AB, Hickler T, Jain AK, Luo YQ, Lu XJ, Luus K, Parton WJ, Shu SJ, Wang YP, Werner C, Xia JY, Pendall E, Morgan JA, Ryan EM, Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, Zelikova TJ, Norby RJ, (2017) 'Challenging terrestrial biosphere models with data from the long-term multifactor Prairie Heating and CO2 Enrichment experiment', Global Change Biology, vol.23, no.9, pp 3623-3645

van Groenigen KJ, Osenberg CW, Terrer C, Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, Heath J, Nie M, Pendall E, Phillips RP, Hungate BA, (2017) 'Faster turnover of new soil carbon inputs under increased atmospheric CO2', Global Change Biology, vol.23, no.10, pp 4420-4429

Canarini A, Carrillo Y, Mariotte P, Ingram L, Dijkstra FA, (2016) 'Soil microbial community resistance to drought and links to C stabilization in an Australian grassland', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.103, pp 171-180

Carrillo Y, Ball BA, Molina M, (2016) 'Stoichiometric linkages between plant litter, trophic interactions and nitrogen mineralization across the litter-soil interface', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.92, pp 102-110

Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, LeCain D, Pendall E, (2016) 'Mediation of soil C decomposition by arbuscular mycorrizhal fungi in grass rhizospheres under elevated CO2', Biogeochemistry, vol.127, no.1, pp 45-55

Crowther TW, Todd-Brown KEO, Rowe CW, Wieder WR, Carey JC, Machmuller MB, Snoek BL, Fang S, Zhou G, Allison SD, Blair JM, Bridgham SD, Burton AJ, Carrillo Y, Reich PB, Clark JS, Classen AT, Dijkstra FA, Elberling B, Emmett BA, Estiarte M, Frey SD, Guo J, Harte J, Jiang L, Johnson BR, Kroel-Dulay G, Larsen KS, Laudon H, Lavallee JM, Luo Y, Lupascu M, Ma LN, Marhan S, Michelsen A, Mohan J, Niu S, Pendall E, Penuelas J, Pfeifer-Meister L, Poll C, Reinsch S, Reynolds LL, Schmidt IK, Sistla S, Sokol NW, Templer PH, Treseder KK, Welker JM, Bradford MA, (2016) 'Quantifying global soil carbon losses in response to warming', Nature, vol.540, no.7631, pp 104-108

Dijkstra FA, Carrillo Y, Aspinwall MJ, Maier C, Canarini A, Tahaei H, Choat B, Tissue DT, (2016) 'Water, nitrogen and phosphorus use efficiencies of four tree species in response to variable water and nutrient supply', Plant and Soil, vol.406, no.1 pp 187-199

Mueller KE, Blumenthal DM, Carrillo Y, Cesarz S, Ciobanu M, Hines J, Pabst S, Pendall E, de Tomasel CM, Wall DH, Eisenhauer N, (2016) 'Elevated CO2 and warming shift the functional composition of soil nematode communities in a semiarid grassland', Soil Biology and Biochemistry , vol.103, pp 46-51

Mueller KE, Blumenthal DM, Pendall E, Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, Williams DG, Follett RF, Morgan JA, Penuelas J, (2016) 'Impacts of warming and elevated CO2 on a semi-arid grassland are non-additive, shift with precipitation, and reverse over time', Ecology Letters, vol.19, no.8, pp 956-966

Chen J, Carrillo Y, Pendall E, Dijkstra FA, Evans RD, Morgan JA, Williams DG, (2015) 'Soil Microbes Compete Strongly with Plants for Soil Inorganic and Amino Acid Nitrogen in a Semiarid Grassland Exposed to Elevated CO2 and Warming', Ecosystems, vol.18, no.5, pp 867-880

Ball B, Carrillo Y,  Molina M, (2014) 'The influence of litter composition across the litter-soil interface on decomposition, nitrogen dynamics and the decomposer community', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.69, pp  71-82

Young SproutBell C, Carrillo Y, Boot C, Rocca J, Pendall E, Wallenstein M, (2014) 'Plant species-specific stoichiometry of soil nutrients and extracellular enzymes in a semi-arid grassland ecosystem', New Phytologist, vol.201, pp 505–517

Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, LeCain D, Morgan JA, Blumenthal D, Waldron S, Pendall E, (2014) 'Disentangling root responses to climate change in a semiarid grassland', Oecologia, vol.175, no.2, pp 699-711

Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, Pendall E, LeCain D, Tucker C, (2014) 'Plant rhizosphere influence on microbial C metabolism: the role of elevated CO2, N availability and root stoichiometry', Biogeochemistry, vol.117, no.s 2-3, pp 229-240

Dijkstra FA, Carrillo Y, Pendall E, Morgan JA, (2013) 'Rhizosphere priming: a nutrient perspective', Frontiers in Microbiology,  vol.4, p 216

Pendall E, Heisler-White JL, Williams DG, Dijkstra FA, Carrillo Y, Morgan JA, LeCain DR, (2013) 'Warming Reduces Carbon Losses from Grassland Exposed to Elevated Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide', PLOS-One, vol.8, article no.e71921

Carrillo Y, Ball BA, Strickland MS, Bradford MA, (2012) 'Legacies of plant litter on carbon and nitrogen dynamics and the role of the soil community', Pedobiologia, vol.55, pp 185-192

Carrillo Y, Dijkstra FA, Pendall E, Morgan JA, Blumenthal D, (2012) 'Controls over nitrogen availability under elevated CO2 and warming in a semiarid grassland', Ecosystems, vol.15, pp 761-774

Dijkstra FA, Pendall E, Morgan JA, Blumenthal DM, Carrillo Y, LeCain DR, Follett R, Williams DG, (2012) 'Climate change alters stoichiometry of phosphorus and nitrogen in a semiarid grassland', New Phytologist, vol.196, pp 807-815

Carrillo Y, Ball BA, Bradford MA, Jordan CF, Molina M, (2011) 'Soil fauna alter the effects of litter composition on nitrogen cycling in a mineral soil', Soil Biology and Biochemistry, vol.43, pp 1440-1449

Carrillo Y, Jordan CF, Jacobsen K, Mitchell K, Raber P, (2011) 'Shoot pruning of a hedgerow perennial legume alters the availability and temporal dynamics of root-derived nitrogen in a subtropical setting', Plant and Soil, vol.345, pp 59-68

Carrillo Y, Pendall E, Dijkstra FA, Morgan JA, Newcomb JM, (2011) 'Response of soil organic matter pools to elevated CO2 and warming in a semi-arid grassland', Plant and Soil, vol.347, pp 339-350

Morgan JA, LeCain DR, Pendall E, Blumenthal DM, Kimball BA, Carrillo Y, Williams, DG, Heisler-White J, Dijkstra FA, West M, (2011) 'C4 grasses prosper as carbon dioxide eliminates desiccation in warmed semi-arid grassland', Nature, vol.476, pp 202-205

Carrillo Y, Pendall E, Dijkstra FA, Morgan JA, Newcomb J, (2010) 'Carbon input control over soil organic matter dynamics in a temperate grassland exposed to elevated CO2 and warming', Biogeosciences Disc, vol.7, pp 1575-1602

Gum TreeDijkstra FA, Blumenthal DM, Morgan JA, Pendall E, Carrillo Y, Follett RF, (2010) 'Contrasting effects of elevated CO2 and warming on nitrogen cycling in a semiarid grassland', New Phytologist, vol.187, no.2, pp 426-437

Carrillo Y, Jordan C, (2008) 'Modeling green manure additions in alley cropping systems: linking soil community dynamics and nitrogen mineralization', In: Towards Agroforestry Design: An Ecological Approach, eds. S. Jose & A.M. Gordon. Springer-Verlag.

Carrillo Y, Guarin A, Guillot G, (2006) 'Biomass distribution, growth and decay of Egeria densa in a tropical highland reservoir (Neusa, Colombia)', Aquatic B