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Department of Plant Sciences

Urszula (Choromanska) Norton

Urszula (Choromanska) Norton

Associate Professor of Agroecology
Department of Plant Sciences

Ag Bldg. 4014

Phone: 307-766-5196
Fax: 307-766-5549

My research lies within the areas of both basic and applied science, concentrating on questions formed to evaluate the impact of anthropogenic or chronic disturbances on ecological underpinnings of ecosystem resiliency and sustainability. As a biogeochemist I am drawn toward understanding the linkages between belowground N and C cycling and ecosystem functions. I am interested in agroecological principles governing sustainable food production in time of diminishing natural resources and environmental change and the short and long-term consequences of climate variability on ecosystems services. In my research approach I investigate a variety of soil, air and plant indices that are most sensitive to environmental change such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide) and labile and stable organic matter pools. Methodologies I often employ include GHG measurements, assays for determining potentially mineralizable C and N, and gross rates of mineralization using 15N enrichment techniques.


  • Quantifying the impact of a massive bark beetle outbreak on carbon, water and nutrient cycling and regeneration of southern Wyoming lodgepole pine forests
  • Development and transfer of Conservation Agriculture Production Systems (CAPS) for small-holder farms in eastern Uganda and western Kenya
  • Effects of cropping-system, irrigation method, and soil properties on soil nitrogen and organic matter dynamics in the Big Horn Basin
  • Economic and environmental sustainability of conventional, reduced-input, and organic approaches on western crop-range-livestock farms

Professional Preparation

  • Warsaw Agricultural University Warsaw, Poland: Horticulture, Bachelor of Science 1988
  • Warsaw Agricultural University Warsaw, Poland: Horticulture (Ornamental Plants Production) M.S. 1990
  • Iowa State University, Ames, IA: Agronomy (Sustainable Agriculture, Crop and Soil Management) M.S. 1995
  • The University of Montana, Missoula, MT: Forestry (Resource Conservation and Forest Soils) Ph.D. 2000
  • Utah State University, Logan, UT: Soil Biochemistry and 15N methodology Post-doc June 2000-December 2002
  • ARS High Plains Grassland Research Station, Cheyenne, WY: Trace gas emissions Post-doc May 2003-May 2004


2009-present: Associate Professor of Agroecology; Plant Sciences Department, University of Wyoming (hired on August 19th 2009); Adjunct Faculty in Program in Ecology (PiE);
2007-present: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Renewable Resources Department, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY;
2004-2007: Land, Air and Water Resources Department, University of California Davis, Davis, CA. Research Associate Step IX;

Relevant Publications

Norton, U., A.R. Mosier, J.A. Morgan, P.D. Stahl, J.D. Derner, and L.I. Ingram. 2008. Moisture pulses, trace gas emissions and soil C and N in cheatgrass and native grass-dominated sagebrush-steppe in Wyoming, USA. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 40:1421-1431.

Hooker, T.D., J.M. Stark, U. Norton, A.J. Leffler, M. Peek, and R. Ryel. 2008. Distribution of ecosystem C and N within contrasting vegetation types in a semiarid rangeland in the Great Basin, USA. Biogeochemistry 90:291-308.

Norton, J.B., T.A. Monaco and U. Norton. 2007. Mediterranean annual grasses in western North America: Kids in a candy store. Plant and Soil. 298:1-5.

Blumenthal, D, U. Norton, J. D. Derner, and J. D. Reeder. 2006. Long-term effects of tebuthiuron on Bromus tectorum. Western North American Naturalist 66:420-425.

Austin, A.T., L. Yahdijan, J.M. Stark, J. Belnap, A. Porporato, U. Norton, D.A. Ravetta, and S.M. Scheffer. 2004. Water pulses and biogeochemical cycles in arid and semiarid ecosystems. Oecologia 141 (2): 221-235.

Choromanska, U. and T.H. DeLuca. 2002. Microbial activity and nitrogen mineralization in forest mineral soils following heating: evaluation of post-fire effects. Soil Biology and Biochemistry. 34:263-271

Choromanska, U. and T.H. DeLuca. 2001. Prescribed fire alters the impact of wildfire on soil biochemical properties in a ponderosa pine forest. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 65:232-238

Synergistic Activities

Faculty Advisor to Agriculture Community Resources for Everyday Sustainability Student Farm and Student Recognized Organization (ACRES farm);

Graduate Students

Miller, Patrick (MS) 2010- UW PSD

Thesis Advisor and Postgraduate-Scholar Sponsor

  • Jungst, Laura (MS committee member, 2006-2008 UW RENW)
  • Gasch-Salava, Caley (Ph.D. committee member 2008- UW RENW and PiE)
  • Mukhwba, Eusebius (Ph.D. committee member, 2008- UW RENW)
  • Mason, Amber (Ph.D. committee member, 2009- UW RENW)
  • Ghimire, Rajan (Ph.D. committee member, 2010- UW RENW)

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