Shannon Berch

Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile

Associate Member

B.Sc. Hons. (1977), M.Sc. Mycology (1979) University of Waterloo; 
Ph.D. Mycology (1983) Université Laval; 
NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow (1983-85) USDA Forest Service Lab, Corvallis, Oregon; 
NSERC University Research Fellow, Soil Science, UBC; 
Research Scientist, Research Branch, BC Ministry of Forests

Contact Information

250-952-4122
Shannon.Berch@gov.bc.ca

Research Interests

A large part of the energy that plants allocate to roots actually supports an intricate web of below ground, largely microscopic, life. In the interface between root and soil (the rhizosphere), interactions between roots, fungi, microarthropods and soil can improve or impair plant growth. Traditional commercial use of the forest of British Columbia has focused primarily on trees, especially trees of known economic value. As societal priorities have shifted and broadened to include many other forest uses and values, there has been an awakening to the diversity of life in our forests and to the impact that forest management has on other resources.

Our most important natural resource is the soil. Soil is a physical matrix, a chemical brewhouse. It is the biological community of soil about which the least is currently known because of the challenges of studying soil organisms in natural ecosystems. I am involved in the study of soil fungi and particularly mycorrhizal fungi from a variety of perspectives: the health of containerized nursery seedlings; the long-term impacts of soil compaction and organic matter removal; the ecology and management of commercially harvested wild mushrooms; the use of molecular tools to identify and detect the presence of fungal species on mycorrhizal roots (in collaboration with Mary Berbee).

Selected Publications

Berch, S.M., B. Baumbrough, J. Battigelli, P Kroeger, N. Strub, and L. de Montigny. 2001. Preliminary assessment of selected communities of soil organisms under different conifer species. B.C. Min. For., Res. Br., Victoria, BC. Research Report 20.

Berch, S.M. and A. M. Wiensczyk. 2001. Ecological description and classification of some Pine Mushroom (Tricholoma magnivelare) habitat in British Columbia. B.C. Min. For.;SIFERP. Victoria, BC; Kamloops, BC. Research Report 19.

Cade-Menun, B.J., S.M. Berch, C.M. Preston and L.M. Lavkulich. 2000a.Phosphorus forms and related soil chemistry of podzolic soils of northern Vancouver Island. I. A comparison of two forest types.Can. J. For. Res. 30: 1714-1725.

Cade-Menun, B.J., S.M. Berch, C.M. Preston and L.M. Lavkulich. 2000b. Phosphorus forms and related soil chemistry of podzolic soils of northern Vancouver Island.II. The effects of clear-cutting and burning.Can. J.For. Res. 30: 1726-1741.

Monreal, M., S.M. Berch, and M. Berbee. 1999. Molecular diversity of ericoid mycorrhizal fungi. Can. J. Bot. 77: 1580-1594.

Berch, S.M., G. Xiao, and C. Bulmer. 1999. Commercial mycorrhizal inoculants: value-added conifers for site rehabilitation or just another way to spend money? In Proceedings: 19th Annual Meeting of the Forest Nursery Association of British Columbia, September 27-30, Vancouver, B.C. Extension Services, Tree Improvement Br., Surrey.

Columbia. B.C. Min. For.;SIFERP. Victoria, BC; Kamloops, BC. Research Report 19.