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My research focuses broadly on controls over carbon and nitrogen cycling in boreal forests. This has included studies on organic N cycling in soils, successional patterns of fine root production and decomposition dynamics, and the role of vertebrate herbivores in ecosystem function and landscape evolution. I am also involved with groups exploring genomic approaches to bacterial and fungal community structure and function in boreal soils. A current interest is the physiological ecology of alder-Frankia-mycorrhizal interactions, and the associated role of alder in boreal forest nutrient cycling dynamics.
- B.S. 1974 University of California Irvine, Biological Sciences
- Ph.D. 1980 University of North Dakota, Biology
- Professor of Biology, University of Alaska, 6/2001-present
- Associate Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Alaska, 6/1994-present
- Assistant Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Alaska, 9/1989-6/1994
- Lecturer, Syracuse University, 1988
- Research Assistant Professor, Syracuse University, 1/1987-8/1989
- National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 1/1985-1/1987
- Post-doctoral Research Assistant, Syracuse University, 8/1980-12/1984
- Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant, University of North Dakota, 1974-1980
2014 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Research Award
- Regional consequences of changing climate-disturbance interactions for the resilience of Alaska's boreal forest. National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: PI; Funded 2010-2016; $5,640,000. (Bonanza Creek LTER webpage)
- Ecosystem-level consequences of mutualist partner choice in alder across a forest successional sequence in interior Alaska. National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: PI; Funded 2007-2010, $796,227.
- The dynamics of change in Alaska’s boreal forests: resilience and vulnerability in response to climate warming (Renewal of the Bonanza Creek LTER). National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: Co-PI; Funded 2006-2010, $3,280,000.
- The moose-human social ecological system of interior Alaska: 2007 supplement to the Bonanza Creek LTER program. National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: Co-PI; Funded 2007-2008, $94,000.
- Resilience and vulnerability in a rapidly changing north: the integration of physical, biological and social processes (Alaska EPSCoR Phase III). National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: Co-team leader of the Biology component; Funded 2007-20010, $9,000,000.
- Coupling diversity with function: metagenomics of boreal forest. National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: Co-PI; Funded 2003-2004, @ $800,000. (extension through Dec 2006).
- Feedbacks between river hydrology and terrestrial nitrogen dynamics in taiga forests. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Responsibilities: Co-PI; Funded 2002-2006, $260,000.
- Ecosystem Processes (BIOL 672, graduate).
- Plant Physiological Ecology (BIOL 675, graduate).
- Structure and Function of Vascular Plants (BIOL 334, undergraduate).
- Grazing Ecology (BIOL 614, graduate).
Current Graduate Students (More info)
- Robin Andrews
- Iris Cato
- Brian Houseman
- Elizabeth Nicklen
Past Graduate Students
- Mike Anderson. Ph.D. 2011. Sources of variation in the symbiotic association between Alnus and Frankia in interior Alaska.
- Beth Lenart. M.S. 1996. (co-chair). Climate and caribou: effects of summer weather on the Chisana caribou herd.
- Kate Doran. Ph.D. 2000. Photosynthetic acclimation of white spruce (Picea glauca) to canopy microhabitats.
- Claudia Ihl. Ph.D. 2007. (co-chair). Foraging ecology and sociality of muskoxen in northwestern Alaska.
- Kendra Calhoun. M.S. 2010. Ectomycorrhizal diversity of white spruce (Picea glauca) at treeline along a latitudinal gradient in Alaska
- Patricia Loomis. M.S. 2005. Nitrogen cycling at treeline: latitudinal and elevational patterns across the boreal landscape.
- Sarah Ludwig. M.S. 2016. Fire severity effects on nutrient dynamics and microbial activities in a Siberian larch forest.
- Jack McFarland. Ph.D. 2008. Latitudinal patterns of amino acid cycling and plant N uptake among North American ecosystems.
- Jennifer Mitchell. M.S. 2006. Patterns of and controls over nitrogen inputs by green alder (Alnus viridis ssp fruticosa) to a successional chronosequence in interior Alaska.
- Christa Mulder. Ph.D. 1996. Plant-herbivore dynamics on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta: The effect of goose herbivory on arrowgrass.
- Dana Nossov. M.S. 2008. Community, population, and growth dynamics of Alnus tenuifolia: implications for nutrient cycling on an interior Alaskan floodplain
- Brian Person. Ph.D. 2001. Herbivore-mediated effects on ecosystem processes in a near-arctic salt marsh.
- Michaela Swanson. M.S. 2016. Relationships between succession and community structure and function of Alnus-associated ectomycorrhizal fungi in Alaskan boreal forests.
- Ken Tape. Ph.D. 2011. Arctic Alaskan shrub growth, distribution, and relationships to landscape processes and climate during the 20th century.
- Daniel Uliassi. M.S. 1998. The regulation of symbiotic nitrogen fixation by thinleaf alder in primary successional forests of the Tanana River floodplain.
- Amy Zacheis. Ph.D. 2000. Effects of migratory geese on plant communities and nitrogen dynamics in an Alaskan salt marsh.
In the News
- Alaskan Wildfires Influence Permafrost Recovery
(1 December 2015) EOS.org
- Alders go their own way in autumn
(11 September 2015) JuneauEmpire
- Movers and Shakers
(15 May 2014) Alaska Journal of Commerce
- Thompson, Ruess, Sparrow honored with Usibelli Awards
(9 May 2014) Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
- Diversity Down Below
(28 February 2014) Science (AAAS)
- Fifty years of far-north biology
(4 September 2013) Sit News
- Fifty years of far-north biology
(31 August 2013) Fairbanks Daily News-Miner
- Ned Rozell: 50 years of covering science issues in Alaska
(30 August 2013) Anchorage Daily News
- Alaska Science Forum: Fifty years of far-north biology
(30 August 2013) Juneau Empire
- Forest fire inspires quirky marriage of science, art
(21 March 2008) Fairbanks Daily News-Miner