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.

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