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Sayer EJ, Leitman SF, Wright SJ, Rodtassana C, Vincent AG, Bréchet LM, Castro B, Lopez O, Tanner EVJ (2024) Tropical forest aboveground productivity is maintained by nutrients cycled in litter. Journal of Ecology doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.14251.

Xu S, Wang J, Lam SK, Sayer EJ, Lai DYF (2024) Precipitation change alters forest soil carbon inputs and pools: a global meta-analysis. Science of the Total Environment, 908:168171.

Potapov A, Guerra CA, van den Hoogen J, et al. (2024) Global fine-resolution data on springtail abundance and community structure. Scientific Data, 11:22.


  • Wallwork A, Castro B, Flynn-Banin L, Dent D, Skiba U, Kerdraon-Byrne D, Sayer EJ (2023)† Soil carbon dynamics are linked to tree species shade-tolerance in a naturally regenerating tropical forest. Frontiers in Forests and Climate Change, doi: 10.3389/ffgc.2023.1232694.
  • Potapov A, Guerra CA, van den Hoogen J, et al. (2023) Globally invariant metabolism but density-diversity mismatch in springtails. Nature Communications, 14:674.
  • Sanaei A, Sayer EJ, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Seabloom E, Yaun Z, Ali A, Wang X (2023) Grazing intensity alters the diversity-carbon storage relationship in rangelands across topographic and climate gradients. Functional Ecology, 37:703-718.
  • Lu Z, Li H, Sayer EJ, Liu Z, Li L, Chen Y, Qin G, Li J, Zhou J, Huang X, Zhang J, Wu J, Thapa P, Wang F (2023) Enhanced abundance of generalist and litter saprotrophs explain increased tropical forest soil carbon with long-term nitrogen deposition. Functional Ecology, 37:2282-2296.
  • Ochoa-Hueso R, Delgado-Baquerizo M, Risch A, et al. (2023). Bioavailability of macro and micro-nutrients across global topsoils: Main drivers and global change impacts. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 37:e2022GB007680.
  • Liu L, Sayer EJ, Deng M, Li P, Liu W, Wang X, Yang S, Huang J, Su Y, Gruenzweig J, Jiang L, Hu S, He J, Piao S (2023) The grassland carbon cycle: mechanisms, responses to global changes, and potential contribution to carbon neutrality. Fundamental Research, 3:209-218.
  • An H, Sayer EJ, Allan J, Flynn M, Phillips F, Dominick D, Naylor T, Paton-Walsh C, Emmerson K, Possell M, Parnell D, Ashworth K (2023)† Soils are a non-negligible source of NO emissions from a UK suburban greenspace and SE Australian Eucalyptus forest. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, 342: 109726.
  • Xu S, Su F, Sayer EJ, Lam SK, Lu X, Liu C, Lai DYF (2023) Fine root litter quality regulates soil carbon storage efficiency in subtropical forest soils. Soil Ecology Letters, 5:230182.
  • Sayer EJ & Ferry LA (2023) Demonstrating a significant advance to the field: an essential criterion for publication in Functional Ecology. Functional Ecology, Functional Ecology, 37:2980-2983.


  • Alencar Nunes C, Berenguer E, França F, Ferreira J, Lees AC, Louzada J, Sayer EJ, et al. (2022)† Linking land use and cover transition prevalence to their impact on tropical forest ecosystems. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 22: e2202310119.
  • Brunn M, Hafner BD, Zwetsloot MJ, Weikl F, Pritsch K, Hikino K, Rühr NK, Sayer EJ, Bauerle TL (2022) Carbon allocation to root exudates is sustained in mature temperate tree species under drought. New Phytologist, 235:965-977.
  • Wallwork A, Flynn-Banin L, Dent D, Skiba U, Sayer EJ (2022)† Tree functional composition drives soil carbon storage during secondary tropical forest succession. Functional Ecology, 36:3175-3187.
  • Denton-Thompson SM, Sayer EJ (2022)† Micronutrients in food production: What can we learn from natural ecosystems? Soil Systems, 6:8.
  • Yu S, Li Z, Sayer EJ, Mo Q, Wang M, Li Y, Li Y, Xu G, Wang F (2022) A delayed wet season increases soil net N mineralization in a seasonally dry tropical forest. Science of the Total Environment, 823: 153314.
  • Kakeh J, Sanaei A, Sayer EJ, Hazhie S, Manouchehr G, Mohammadi MH (2022) Biocrust diversity enhances dryland soil multifunctionality. Land Degradation and Development, 34:521-533.
  • Zhang M, Sayer EJ, Zhang W, Ye J, Yuan Z, Lin F, Hao Z, Fang S, Mao Z, Ren J, Wang X (2022) Seasonal influence of biodiversity on soil respiration in a temperate forest. Plants, 11:3391.
  • Zhang J, Zhou J, Sayer EJ, Lambers H, Liu Z, Lu X, Li Y, Li Y, Li Z, Wang F (2022) Nitrogen deposition enhances soil organic carbon and microbial residual carbon in a tropical forest. Plant and Soil, 484:217-235.


  • Sayer EJ, Crawford JA, Edgerley J, Askew AP, Hahn CA, Whitlock R, Dodd IC (2021)† Adaptation to chronic drought modifies soil microbial community responses to phytohormones. Communications Biology, 4:516.
  • Li P, Sayer EJ, Jia Z, Wu Y, Deng M, Wang X, Liu C, Wang B, Wang Y, Bai Y, Liu L (2021)† Deepened snow cover mitigates soil carbon loss from intensive land use in a semi-arid temperate grassland. Functional Ecology, 36: 635-645.
  • Sayer EJ, Baxendale C, Birkett AJ, Bréchet LM, Castro B, Kerdraon-Byrne D, Lopez-Sangil L, Rodtassana C (2021)†Altered litter inputs modify carbon and nitrogen storage in soil organic matter in a lowland tropical forest.Biogeochemistry, 156:115-130.
  • Sanaei A, Sayer EJ, Yaun Z, Ali A, Wang X (2021) Species co-occurrence shapes spatial variability in species diversity – biomass relationships in natural rangelands with differing grazing intensities. Land Degradation and Development, 32:4390-4401.
  • Fan Y, Wang F, Sayer EJ, Liu Z, Mo Q, Xu X, Li Y, Zou B, Li Y, Zhang J, Li Z (2021) Nutrient addition enhances carbon sequestration in soil but not plant biomass in coastal shelter plantations. Land Degradation and Development, 32:4768-4778.
  • Su F, Xu S, Sayer EJ, Lu X (2021) Distinct protection mechanisms of soil organic carbon in coniferous pine forest and evergreen broadleaf forest in tropical China. Journal of Environmental Management, 295:113142.
  • Sanaei A, Sayer EJ, Yaun Z, Wang X (2021) Differential responses of soil fungal and bacterial communities to plant biodiversity and soil stoichiometry in temperate forest. Ecosystems, 25: 291-307.
  • Zhang J, Sayer EJ, Zhou J, Li Y, Li Y, Li Z, Wang F (2021). Long-term fertilization modifies the mineralization of soil organic matter in response to added substrate. Science of the Total Environment, 798:149341.
  • Xu S, Sayer EJ, Eisenhauer N, Lu X, Wang J, Liu C (2021) Aboveground litter inputs determine carbon storage across soil profiles: a meta-analysis. Plant and Soil, 462:429–444.
  • Wang S, Jímenez-Alfar B, Pan S, Yu J, Sanaei A, Sayer EJ, Ye J, Hao Z, Fang S, Lin F, Yuan Z, Wang X (2021) Differential responses of forest strata species richness to past climate and forest structure. Forest Ecology and Management, 499: 119605.
  • Urbina I, Grau O, Sardans J, Margal O, Peguero G, Asensio D, Llusià J, Ogaya R, Gargallo-Garriga A, Van Langenhove L, Verryckt L, Courtois E, Stahl C, Soong J, Chave J, Hérault B, Janssens I, Sayer EJ, Penuelas, J (2021) High foliar K and P resorption efficiencies in old-growth tropical forests growing on nutrient-poor soils. Ecology and Evolution, 11:8969-8982.
  • Nunes CA, Barlow J, França F, Berenguer E, Solar RRC, Louzada J, Leitão R, Maia L, Oliveira VHF, Fagundes Braga R, Vaz-de-Mello FZ, Sayer EJ (2021)† Functional redundancy of Amazonian dung beetles confers community-level resistance to primary forest disturbance at local and regional scales. Biotropica, 53:1510-1521.
  • Cimpoiasu M, Dowdeswell-Downey E, Evans D, McCloskey C, Rose L, Sayer EJ (2021) Contributions and future priorities for soil science: comparing perspectives from academia with those from industrial and environmental sectors. European Journal of Soil Science, 72:2538-2557.
  • Haygarth P, Lawrenson O, Mezeli M, Sayer EJ, McCloskey C, Evans D, Kirk G, Tye A, Chadwick D, Jones D (2021) On pedagogy of Soil Science Centre for Doctoral Training. European Journal of Soil Science, 72:2320-2329.


  • Li P, Sayer EJ, Jia Z, Wu Y, Yang S, Wang C, Yang L, Chen D, Liu L (2020)† Deepened winter snow cover enhances net ecosystem exchange and stabilizes plant community composition and productivity in a temperate grassland. Global Change Biology, 26:3015-3027.
  • Sayer EJ, Rodtassana C, Sheldrake M, Bréchet LM, Ashford O, Lopez-Sangil L, Kerdraon-Byrne D, Castro B, Turner BL, Wright SJ, Tanner EVJ (2020)† Revisiting nutrient cycling by litterfall – insights from 15 years of litter manipulation in old-growth lowland tropical forest. Advances in Ecological Research, 62:173-223.
  • Kerdraon-Byrne D, Drewer J, Chung AYC, Majalap N, Slade EM, Bréchet LM, Wallwork A, Castro-Trujillo B, Sayer EJ (2020)† Litter inputs, but not litter diversity, maintain soil function in degraded tropical forests – a cross-continental comparison. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 2:90.
  • Xu S, Geng W, Sayer EJ, Zhou G, Zhou P, Liu C (2020) Soil microbial biomass and community responses to experimental precipitation change: a meta-analysis. Soil Ecology Letters, 2:93-103.
  • McTavish MJ, Cray HA, Murphy SD, Bauer JT, Havrilla CA, Oelbermann M, Sayer EJ (2020) Sustainable Management of Grassland Soils. In: Soils and Landscape Restoration (eds. M Callaham and J Stanturf), Elsevier.
  • Sayer EJ & Schäfer, R (2020) The diversity of decay. eLife, 9:e60375. (Invited Insights article)


  • Sayer EJ, Lopez-Sangil L, Crawford JA, Brechet LM, Birkett AJ, Baxendale C, Garnett M, Weiss L, Schmidt MWI (2019)† Tropical forest soil carbon stocks do not increase despite 15 years of doubled litter inputs. Nature Scientific Reports, 9:18030.
  • Sayer EJ (2019) The essentials of effective scientific writing – a revised alternative guide for authorsFunctional Ecology, 33:1576–1579.
  • Welch B, Gauci V, Sayer EJ (2019)† Tree stem bases are sources of CH4 and N2O in a tropical forest on upland soil during the dry to wet season transition. Global Change Biology, 25:361-372.
  • Mo Q, Li Z, Sayer EJ, Yu S, Zou B, Li Y, Tang J, Heskel M, Zheng X, Ding Y, Mao R, Wang F (2019) Foliar phosphorus fractions reveal how tropical plants maintain photosynthetic rates despite low soil phosphorus availability. Functional Ecology, 33:503–513.
  • Beiroz W, Barlow J, Slade EM, Borges C, Louzada J, Sayer EJ (2019)† Biodiversity in tropical plantations is influenced by surrounding native vegetation but not yield: A case study with dung beetles in Amazonia. Forest Ecology & Management, 444:107-114.
  • Kerdraon D†, Drewer J, Castro B, Wallwork A, Hall JS, Sayer EJ (2019)† Litter traits of native and non-native tropical trees influence soil carbon dynamics in timber plantations in Panama. Forests, 10:209


  • Sayer EJ (2018) The Anatomy of an Excellent Review Paper. Functional Ecology, 32:2278-2281.
  • Sheldrake M, Rosenstock MP, Mangan S, Revillini D, Sayer EJ, Olsson PA, Wallander H, Tanner EVJ, Wright SJ, Turner BL (2018)† Responses of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi to long-term inorganic and organic nutrient addition in a lowland tropical forest. ISME Journal, 12:2433–2445.
  • Lopez-Sangil L, Hartley I, Rovira P, Casals P, Sayer EJ (2018) Drying-rewetting cycles differentially affect the mineralization of fresh plant litter and extant soil organic matter. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 124, 81-89.
  • Xu S, Li P, Sayer EJ, Zhang B, Wang J, Qiao C, Peng Z, Diao L, Chi Y, Liu W, Liu L (2018)† Initial soil organic matter content influences the storage and turnover of litter-, root- and soil carbon in grasslands. Ecosystems,21:1377-1389.
  • Bréchet L, Lopez-Sangil L, George C, Birkett, A, Baxendale C, Castro Trujillo B, Sayer EJ (2018) Distinct responses of soil respiration to experimental litter manipulation in temperate woodland and tropical forest. Ecology & Evolution, 8:3787-3796.
  • Gora EM, Sayer EJ, Turner BL, Tanner EVJ (2018) Decomposition of coarse woody debris in a long‐term litter manipulation experiment: A focus on nutrient availability. Functional Ecology, 32:1128-1138.
  • Beiroz W, Sayer EJ, Slade E, Audino L, Braga R, Louzada J, Barlow J (2018)† Spatial and temporal shifts in functional and taxonomic diversity of dung beetles in a human-modified tropical forest landscape. Ecological Indicators, 95:518-526.
  • Sayer EJ & Silvertown J (2018) Long-term experiments forever! Editorial to a BES cross-journal special issue


  • Wang F, Ding Y, Sayer EJ, Li Q, Zou B, Mo Q, Li Y, Lu X, Tang J, Zhu W, Li Z (2017) Tropical forest restoration: fast resilience of plant biomass contrasts with slow recovery of stable soil C stocks. Functional Ecology, 31:2344–2355.
  • Laird-Hopkins BC, Brechet LM, Sayer EJ (2017)† Tree functional diversity affects litter decomposition and arthropod community composition in a tropical forest. Biotropica, 49:903-911.
  • Sayer EJ, Oliver AE, Fridley JD, Askew A, Mills RTE, Grime JP (2017) Long-term drought affects soil microbial communities via plant functional traits. Ecology & Evolution, 7: 855–862.
  • Lopez-Sangil L, George C, Medina-Barcenas E, Birkett A, Baxendale C, Brechet LM, Estradera-Gumbau E, Sayer EJ (2017)The Automated Root Exudate System (ARES): a method to apply solutes at regular intervals to soils in the field. Methods in Ecology & Evolution, 8:1042-1050.
  • Beiroz W, Slade E, Barlow J, Silveira J, Louzada J, Sayer EJ (2017)† Dung beetle community dynamics in undisturbed tropical forests: implications for ecological evaluations of land-use change. Insect Conservation & Diversity, 10:94–106.
  • Brechet LM, Le Dantec V, Ponton S, Sayer EJ, Bonal D. Freycon V, Roy J, Epron D (2017) Short- and long-term influence of litter quality and quantity on simulated heterotrophic soil respiration in a lowland tropical forest. Ecosystems, 20:1190-1204.
  • Sheldrake M, Rosenstock N, Revillini D, Olsson PA, Mangan S, Sayer EJ, Turner BL, Tanner EVJ (2017)† Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal community composition is altered by long-term litter removal but not litter addition in a lowland tropical forest. New Phytologist, 214:455-467.


  • Chen Y, Sayer EJ, Li Z, Mo Q, Li Y, Ding Y, Wang J, Lu X, Tang J, Wang F (2016) Nutrient limitation of coarse woody debris decomposition in a secondary tropical forest: Contrasting effects of N and P addition. Functional Ecology, 30:295-304.
  • Sayer EJ & Banin LF (2016) Tree nutrient status and nutrient cycling in tropical forest – lessons from fertilization experiments. In: Tropical Tree Physiology pp 275-297 (eds. G Goldstein and LS Santiago), Springer.




  • Xu S, Liu L, Sayer EJ (2013)† Variability of aboveground litter inputs alters soil physicochemical and biological processes: a meta-analysis of litterfall-manipulation experiments. Biogeosciences, 10:5245-5272.
  • Sayer EJ, Wagner M, Pywell RF, Oliver AE, Whiteley AS, James P, Heard MS (2013) Grassland management influences spatial patterns of soil microbial communities. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 61:61-68.
  • Ashford OS, Foster WA, Turner BL, Sayer EJ, Sutcliffe L, Tanner, EVJ. (2013)† Litter manipulation and the soil arthropod community in a lowland tropical rainforest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 62:5-12.
  • Meyer ST, Neubauer M, Sayer EJ, Leal IR, Tabarelli M, Wirth R. (2013) Leaf-cutting ants as ecosystem engineers: topsoil and litter perturbations around Atta cephalotes nests reduce nutrient availability. Ecological Entomology, 38:497-504.


  • Sayer EJ, Tanner EVT, Wright SJ, Yavitt JB, Harms KE, Powers JS, Kaspari M, Garcia MN, Turner BL (2012) Variable responses of lowland tropical forest nutrient status to fertilization and litter manipulation. Ecosystems,15:387-400.


  • Sayer EJ, Heard MS, Grant HK, Marthews TR, Tanner EVJ (2011). Soil carbon release enhanced by increased tropical forest litterfall. Nature Climate Change, 1:304-307.
  • Wright SJ, Yavitt JB, Wurzburger N, Turner BL, Tanner EVJ, Sayer EJ, Santiago LS, Kaspari M, Hedin LO, Harms KE, Garcia MN, Corre MD (2011). Potassium, phosphorus or nitrogen limit root allocation, tree growth, or litter production in a lowland tropical forest. Ecology, 92:1616–1625.


  • Sayer EJ & Tanner EVT (2010) Experimental investigation of the importance of litterfall in lowland semi-evergreen tropical forest nutrient cycling. Journal of Ecology, 98:1052-1062.
  • Sayer EJ & Tanner EVJ (2010) A new approach to trenching experiments for measuring root-rhizosphere respiration in a lowland tropical forest. Soil Biology & Biochemistry, 42:347-352.
  • Sayer EJ, Sutcliffe L, Ross R, Tanner EVJ (2010)† Arthropod abundance and diversity in the forest floor of a lowland tropical forest: the role of habitat space vs. nutrient concentrations. Biotropica, 42:194-200.


  • Sayer EJ, Powers JS, Tanner EVJ (2007)† Increased litterfall in tropical forests boosts the transfer of soil CO2to the atmosphere. PLoS One, 2:e1299.


  • Sayer EJ (2006) Using experimental litter manipulation to assess the roles of leaf litter in the functioning of forest ecosystems. Biological Reviews, 81:1-31.
  • Sayer EJ, Tanner EVJ, Cheesman AW (2006)† Increased litterfall changes fine root distribution in a moist tropical forest. Plant & Soil, 281:5-13.
  • Sayer EJ, Tanner EVJ, Lacey AL (2006)† Litter quantity affects early-stage decomposition and meso-arthropod abundance in a moist tropical forest. Forest Ecology & Management, 229:285-293.