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.

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.

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.

September 2010


Dr. Oswald Schmitz

Yale University

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

October 2010


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.

October 2009


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

November 2009


Dr. Alison Brody

University of Vermont

Understanding Nature through Species Interactions: from Colorado to Kenya.

October 2008


Dr. Elizabeth Losos

Duke University

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Changing Tropical Ecosystems

October 2007


Dr. Paul Beier

Northern Arizona University

Cougars, Corridors, and Missing Linkages: 20 years of Science, Conservation, and Advocacy

October 2007


Julio L Betancourt

US Geological Survey

An Environmental History of the Atacama Desert: Nature's Experiment at the Edge of Life

September 2006


Dr. Sarah Hobbie

University of Minnesota

The Influence of Tree Species on Biogeochemistry: Interactions among Litter Chemistry, Earthworms, and Microbes.

September 2005


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.

September 2005


Dr. Sam McNaughton

Syracuse University

Thirty-one Years of Continuous Research on the Serengeti Grazing Ecosystem

September 2004


Dr. Joy Zedler

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Wetland Degradation and Restoration: Challenges in the Great Lakes Region

October 2004


Peter B. Reich

University of Minnesota

Causes and Consequences of Plant Functional Diversity: From Functional Convergence to Ecosystem Engineering.

October 2003


Dr. Gary King

University of Maine

Trace Gas Microbiology and Biogeochemistry—Seeing the Forest and the Trees

September 2002


Dr. David Read

University of Sheffield

Lifelines in the Soil—the Role of Mycorrhizae in Ecosystem Processes.

October 2002

Dr. Per Angelstam

University of Agricultural Sciences, Skinnskatteberg, Sweden

Professor in the School for Forest Engineers

October 2010


Dr. Susan L. Stout

Research Project Leader

USDA Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station

A Road Less Taken: Surprises from Long-term Research

October 2009


Dr. Randy Schaetzl

Michigan State University

Unraveling the Relationships among Soils, Vegetation and Climate on the Sandy Uplands of Michigan's Northern Lower Peninsula.

September 2008


Aaron Ellison

Harvard University

Plants that Build Environments: a Tale of Two Foundation Species

October 2008


Dr. Jennifer Harden

USGS, Menlo Park California

A Paradigm for Soil Resilience

October 2007


Svata Louda

University of Nebraska, Lincoln

Biological Control: A Double-edged Sword

September 2006


Richard Mack

Washington State University

Invasion! Immigration Routes and Ecological Genetics of Bromus tectorum (cheatgrass) in North America

October 2006


Dr. Carolyn Bledsoe

University of California - Davis

Frontiers in Mycorrhizal Research: Functional Diversity of ectomycorrhizas in Oak Woodlands.

September 2005


Dr. James Tiedje

Michigan State University

Genomic Insights into Environmental Microbiology

September 2004


Dr. Mike Ryan

USDA Forest Service

Rocky Mountain Research Station

Carbon Allocation in Forest Ecosystems

September 2004


Rob Jackson

Duke University

Global Consequences of Vegetation Change: Linking Ecosystem Changes Above- and Below-Ground.

October 2, 2003


Bob Naiman

University of Washington

The Ecology of Interfaces: New Perspectives from Pacific Coastal Riparian Systems.

October 2003


Dr. Dan Binkley

Colorado State University

Connecting Resource Supply with Forest Growth—Brazil to the Colorado Rockies

October 2002