Past Visiting Ecologists
The School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science has welcomed many extraordinary ecologists to its Distinguished Ecologist Series. These past speakers embody the integrity of this series and we hope will encourage you to attend this year's series of lectures by distinguished ecologists.
Katherine Gross — September 19, 2013
University Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology, Kellog Biological Station Director, Michigan State University
Kay is broadly interested in the causes and consequences of species diversity in plant communities. Her current research focuses on how nutrient input and management impacts the diversity, productivity, and composition of grasslands. Kay and colleagues established several long-term experiments to test hypotheses about how nutrient enrichment (fertilization) impacts grasslands. In one experiment they followed community response to fertilization and disturbance for over 25 years. Kay is also interested in the consequences of diversity in managed agricultural ecosystems. On the KNS LTER project the monitor the long-term effect of different crop management systems on the composition of weed communities in different crops. Experiments and field studies established as part of the Great Lakes BioEnergy Research Center at KBS are used to test hypotheses relating diversity, productivity, and management practices to the sustainability of alternative biofuel crops.
Gary Mittelbach — September 20, 2013
Professor of Zoology, Michigan State University
As an ecologist, Gary is interested in the evolution and maintenance of biodiversity (the variety of life), and, in particular, what determines species diversity at different spatial scales. At the local scale, the number and type of species found in a community depends on biotic and abiotic interactions, species sorting, and dispersal of colonists from a regional species pool. At broad spatial scales (regions, continents), we need to consider the factors that drive rates of diversification (speciation and extinction), as well as the dispersal of species between regions. Studying biodiversity at these different spatial scales requires different tools and different approaches. Local communities often lend themselves to experimental manipulation and his current research in this area includes experimental studies in freshwater communities (working with fish and aquatic invertebrates), and a long-term, collaborative study on the effects of resource heterogeneity on species diversity in a terrestrial grassland.
Amanda Rodewald — September 26, 2013
Director of Conservation Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Associate Professor, Department of Natural Resources, Robert F. Schumann Faculty Fellow, Cornell University
Dr. Rodewald's research program seeks to understand the behavioral and demographic mechanisms guiding population, community, and landscape-scale responses of birds to land use change and human activity in the eastern US and Latin America. Most of her current projects focus on understanding how land use change, agroforestry practices, and invasive species affect (1) species interactions, including predator-prey and food web dynamics, (2) population demography and behavioral ecology of forest birds, (3) patterns of avian distribution and diversity at the landscape scale, and (4) selective environments for behavioral and morphological traits.
Jonathan Cole — October 17, 2013
Distinguished Senior Scientist and G.E. Hutchinson Chair in Ecology, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies
Dr. Cole's research focuses on the interface between microbiology and biogeochemistry in aquatic ecosystems. In almost any system, microorganisms are responsible for most of the aerobic respiration and all of the anaerobic respiration. Thus, the production of carbon dioxide, methane, sulfide as well as the regeneration of other inorganic nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus) is largely due to the activities of these microorganisms. Cole is particularly interested in the biotic and abiotic regulation of microbial metabolism, energy flow and carbon cycles in lakes, rivers, and marine systems. He has been focusing his attention more recently on the fates of terrestrial C in aquatic systems and the role that inland waters have on global carbon. It turns out that inland waters are quite significant in both the global and regional balances of C both in terms of the storage of organic C in lake and reservoir sediments and in the oxidation of terrestrially derived organic materials.
Steven Running — September 5-9, 2012
Regents Professor/Director, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group (NTSG), College of Forestry & Conservation, University of Montana
Mary Eleanor Power — September 26-28, 2012
Professor, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California Berkeley
Dan Binkley — October 3-7, 2012
Richard Norby — October 17-21, 2012
Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Peter Hogberg — September 29, 2011
Professor in Soil Science, Head of the Forest Ecology and Management department at SLU, Umeå, Sweden
Broadly, Dr. Högberg’s research concerns the cycles of nitrogen and carbon through forests, especially interactions among trees, mycorrhizal fungi, and soils. Through novel applications of whole-ecosystem carbon and nitrogen isotopic labeling experiments, as well as tree girdling experiments, Dr.Högberg and colleagues have contributed tremendous insight as to how forests allocate resources, and how this affects the cycling of nutrients in the ecosystem.
Harri Vassander — October 6, 2011
Professor in Peatland Forestry; Department of Forest Sciences; University of Helsinki
Dr. Vasander is broadly interested in peatland classification, production, and C dynamics of boreal and tropical peatlands.In addition to an extensive peer-reviewed publication record, he is also co-author to many instructional and field identification guides, including, “The Intricate Beauty of Sphagnum Mosses – a Finnish Guide to Identification”.
Green Fire - October 20, 2011 at 7 p.m. in G002 U.J. Noblet Forestry Bldg.
The first full-length, high-definition documentary film ever made about legendary environmentalist Aldo Leopold, Green Fire highlights Leopold’s extraordinary career, tracing how he shaped and influenced the modern environmental movement. Leopold remains relevant today, inspiring projects all over the country that connect people and land.http://www.greenfiremovie.com/
Stan Temple - October 21, 2011
Aldo Leopold, Phenology and Climate Change --- 11:00a.m. in the room 146 (the wildlife teaching lab)
Aldo Leopold, best known as the author of A Sand County Almanac, was a keen observer of the natural world. Throughout his life he kept daily journals recording observations of seasonal events, especially those occuring at his beloved "shack" on the Leopold farm which was the setting for many essays in A Sand County Almanac. Leopold's meticulous phenological observations have provided us with an unparalleled record of when plants bloomed, birds migrated and other natural events. Comparing his observations of hundreds of natural events to recent records helps us understand how climate change is affecting the ecological community. One lesson of Leopold's journals is clear: For those who love nature and take time to observe it closely, keeping records enhances the enjoyment and value of our time and effort, both now and in the future.
Things I've learned: Insights from a 40-year Career in Conservation --- 4:00p.m. in the room 146 (the wildlife teaching lab)
Find out how an early interest in birds lead to a childhood friendship with Rachel Carson, helping write the Endangered Species Act, developing recovery programs some of the world's rarest species, preserving some really important natural areas, helping launch the field of conservation biology, and walking in Aldo Leopold's footsteps. And along the way there were the near-death experiences, the CIA connection, skirmishes with the World Bank, hate mail from animal-rights activists, and other assorted side stories.
Oswald J. Schmitz — October 27, 2011
Oastler Professor of Population and Community Ecology; Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Yale Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Professor Schmitz’s research examines the dynamics and structure of terrestrial food webs. His specific focus is on plant-herbivore interactions and how they are shaped by carnivores and soil-nutrient levels, both at the level of herbivore foraging ecology and plant-herbivore population dynamics. He is also examining how natural systems are resistant and resilient to natural and human-induced disturbances. His approach involves developing mathematical theories of species interactions in food webs and testing these theories through field experiments. The work deals with a variety of ecosystems and herbivore species, ranging from moose deer and snowshoe hare in northern Canadian forests to insects in New England old-field ecosystems.
Virginia Dale — November 11, 2011
Landscape Ecology & Regional Analysis Group, Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee
Dr. Dale’s primary research interests are in a landscape design for bioenergy, environmental decision making, land-use change, landscape ecology, and ecological modeling. She has worked on developing tools for resource management, vegetation recovery subsequent to disturbances; effects of climate change on forests; and integrating socioeconomic and ecological models of land-use change.Her current research involves working closely with resource managers to identify indicators of ecological change at different scales and to design models that can project regional changes in environmental conditions.
Dr. Cindy Prescott
University of British Columbia
Faculty and associate dean of graduate studies and research.
Dr. Oswald Schmitz
Professor and director of the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Science
The Ecology of Fear and the Ecosystem: How Predation Risk Drives Stoichiometry and Ecosystem Nutrient Dynamics
Dr. David Mladenoff
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
The Value of Historical Data for Ecological Questions of the Present and Future.
Dr. Knute Nadelhoffer
University of Michigan
Dept. of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Decadal-scale 15N Tracer Recoveries Constrain Nitrogen Deposition as a Driver of Forest Carbon Sequestration
Dr. Alison Brody
University of Vermont
Understanding Nature through Species Interactions: from Colorado to Kenya.
Dr. Elizabeth Losos
Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Changing Tropical Ecosystems
Dr. Paul Beier
Northern Arizona University
Cougars, Corridors, and Missing Linkages: 20 years of Science, Conservation, and Advocacy
Julio L Betancourt
US Geological Survey
An Environmental History of the Atacama Desert: Nature's Experiment at the Edge of Life
Dr. Sarah Hobbie
University of Minnesota
The Influence of Tree Species on Biogeochemistry: Interactions among Litter Chemistry, Earthworms, and Microbes.
Dr. Rick Lindroth
University of Wisconsin - Madison
What Can Chemistry Tell Us about Ecology? Insights into the Evolutionary and Ecological 'Success' of a Principal North American Tree Species.
Dr. Sam McNaughton
Thirty-one Years of Continuous Research on the Serengeti Grazing Ecosystem
Dr. Joy Zedler
University of Wisconsin, Madison
Wetland Degradation and Restoration: Challenges in the Great Lakes Region
Peter B. Reich
University of Minnesota
Causes and Consequences of Plant Functional Diversity: From Functional Convergence to Ecosystem Engineering.
Dr. Gary King
University of Maine
Trace Gas Microbiology and Biogeochemistry—Seeing the Forest and the Trees
Dr. David Read
University of Sheffield
Lifelines in the Soil—the Role of Mycorrhizae in Ecosystem Processes.