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Ferran Garcia-Pichel

Ferran Garcia-Pichel

Regents Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences


School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874501
Tempe, AZ 85287-4501


  • Regents Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes


Ferran Garcia-Pichel and his collaborators study the roles, adaptations, and impacts of microbes in natural environments that range from desert soils to shallow marine waters. The microbes they study play roles of ecological importance, including the formation and destruction of minerals, the prevention of soil erosion, or the biogeochemicalcycling of nutrients.

His current foci on microbial adaptations involve studying mechanisms carbonatedissolution, the production of sunscreen compounds, and the microbial ability to produce hydrogen from water. Current applied aspects of their researchincludedeveloping strategies for the sustainable recovery of degraded arid lands and searching for novel microbial capacities and products that have potential use in biomedicine and technology.

Garcia-Pichel is also interested in improving undergraduate and graduate education. He teaches entry-level microbiology, advanced microbial ecology and geomicrobiology courses.


  • PhD, Biology (Microbiology), University of Oregon, 1992
  • MA, University of Oregon, 1988
  • MS, Autonomous University, Barcelona, Spain, 1986

Journal Articles

In Press

Faist, A. M., A. J. Antoninka, J. Belnap, M. A. Bowker, M. C. Duniway, F. Garcia-Pichel, C. Nelson, S. C. Reed, A. Giraldo-Silva, S. Velasco-Ayuso and N. N. Barger. Inoculation and habitat amelioration efforts in biological soil crust recovery vary by desert and soil texture. Restoration Ecology DOI: 10.1111/rec.13087. (link )

Velasco Ayuso, S., A. Giraldo-Silva, N. N. Barger and F. Garcia-Pichel. Microbial inoculum production for biocrust restoration: testing the effects of a common substrate versus native soils on yield and community composition. Restoration Ecology DOI: 10.1111/rec.13127. (link )


Giraldo-Silva, A., V. M. Fernandes, J. Bethany and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2020. Niche partitioning with temperature among heterocystous cyanobacteria (Scytonema spp., Nostoc spp., and Tolypothrix spp.) from biological soil crusts. Microorganisms 8(3):Art. 396. DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms8030396. (link )

Nelson, C., A. Giraldo-Silva and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2020. A fog-irrigated soil substrate (FISS) system unifies and optimizes cyanobacterial biocrust inoculum production. Applied and Environmental Microbiology Art. 00624-20. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.00624-20. (link )

Roush, D. and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2020. Succession and colonization dynamics of endolithic phototrophs within intertidal carbonates. Microorganisms 8(2):Art. 214. DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms8020214. (link )

Thomazo, C., E. Couradeau, A. Giraldo-Silva, J. Marin-Carbonne, A. Brayard, M. Homann, P. Sansjofre, S. V. Lalonde and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2020. Biological soil crusts as modern analogues for the Archean Continental Biosphere: Insights from carbon and nitrogen isotopes. Astrobiology 20(7):815–819. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2019.2144. (link )


Ferandes, V. M., N. M. Machado de Lima, D. Roush, J. Rudgers, S. L. Collins and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2018. Exposure to predicted precipitation patterns decreases population size and alters community structure of cyanobacteria in biological soil crusts from the Chihuahuan Desert. Environmental Microbiology 20(1):259-269. DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.13983. (link )

Muñoz-Martín, M., I. Becerra-Absalón, E. Perona, L. Fernández-Valbuena, F. Garcia-Pichel and P. Mateo. 2018. Cyanobacterial biocrust diversity in Mediterranean ecosystems along a latitudinal and climatic gradient.. New Phytologist 221(1):123-141. DOI: 10.1111/nph.15355. (link )

Roush, D., E. Couradeau, B. Guida, S. Neuer and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2018. A new niche for anoxygenic phototrophs as endoliths. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84(11):e02055-17. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02055-17. (link )

Sorochkina, K., S. Velasco Ayuso and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2018. Establishing rates of lateral expansion of cyanobacterial biological soil crusts for optimal restoration. Plant and Soil 429(1-2):199-211. DOI: 10.1007/s11104-018-3695-5. (link )


Baran, R., R. Lau, B. P. Bowen, S. Diamond, F. Garcia-Pichel and T. R. Northern. 2017. Extensive turnover of compatible solutes in cyanobacteria revealed by deuterium oxide (D2O) stable isotope probing. Chemical Biology 12(3):674-681. DOI: 10.1021/acschembio.6b00890. (link )

Guida, B., M. Bose and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2017. Carbon fixation from mineral carbonates. Nature Communications 18:1025. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00703-. (link )

Reddy Gundlapally, S. and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2017. Description of Deinococcus oregonensis sp. nov., from biological soil crusts in the Southwestern arid lands of the United States of America. Archives of Microbiology 199(1):69-76. DOI: 10.1007/s00203-016-1273-x. (link )


Marusenko, Y. Y., F. Garcia-Pichel and S. J. Hall. 2015. Ammonia-oxidizing archaea respond positively to inorganic nitrogen addition in desert soils. FEMS Microbiology Ecology 91(2):1-11. DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiu023. (link )


Strauss, S. L., F. Garcia-Pichel and T. A. Day. 2012. Soil microbial carbon and nitrogen transformations at a glacial foreland on Anvers Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Biology 35(10):1459-1471. DOI: 10.1007/s00300-012-1184-5. (link )


Strauss, S. L., T. A. Day and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2011. Nitrogen cycling in desert biological soil crusts across biogeographic regions in the southwestern United States. Biogeochemistry 108(1):171-182. DOI: 10.1007/s10533-011-9587-x. (link )


Bates, S. T., T. H. Nash III, K. G. Sweat and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2010. Fungal communities of lichen-dominated biological soil crusts: Diversity, relative microbial biomass, and their relationship to disturbance and crust cover. Journal of Arid Environments 74(10):1192-1199. DOI: 10.1016/j.jaridenv.2010.05.033. (link )


Beraldi-Campesi, H., H. E. Hartnett, A. D. Anbar, G. W. Gordon and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2009. Effect of biological soil crusts on soil elemental concentrations: Implications for biogeochemistry and as traceable biosignatures of ancient life on land. Geobiology 7(3):348-359. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2009.00204.x. (link )


Elser, J. J., J. H. Schampel, F. Garcia-Pichel, B. D. Wade, V. Souza, L. E. Eguiarte, A. E. Escalante and J. Farmer. 2005. Effects of phosphorus enrichment and grazing snails on lmodern stromatolitic microbial communities. Freshwater Biology 50(11):1808-1825. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2005.01451.x. (link )



MacNeille, B., D. L. Childers and F. Garcia-Pichel. 2016. Microbial biodiversity in Phoenix's public phyllosphere. Poster presented at the Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research Eighteenth Annual All Scientists Meeting and Poster Symposium, 15 January 2016, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ.


Marusenko, Y. Y., F. Garcia-Pichel and S. J. Hall. 2013. Nitrogen fertilization creates new niches for ammonia-oxidizing microbial communities in soil. Poster presented at the 11 January 2013, 15th Annual CAP LTER Poster Symposium and All Scientist Meeting 2013, Skysong, Scottsdale, AZ. (link )