Distinguished Professor and Loren Potter Chair
Department of Biology
University of New Mexico
I have served as Chair of the US Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) Network. The LTER Network comprises 26 long-term ecological research sites with a total of nearly 800 scientists, students and technicians funded by the National Science Foundation. I am currently on the Board of the Global Drylands Center (Arizona State University) and INTECOL. I have also served as President of the Ecological Society of America, the largest society for professional ecologists. I’ve been elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Ecological Society of America. In 2018 I was awarded the annual Distinguished Service Citation from ESA and in 2019 I received the Annual Research Lecture Award from the University of New Mexico, the highest award conferred on faculty by their peers at UNM.
My research focuses on the interactive effects of natural disturbances - fire, grazing and climate extremes - on grassland ecosystems. I have worked extensively on climate change impacts on desert grasslands in New Mexico and in tallgrass prairie in Kansas. My work in Kansas led to the Nature Conservancy adopting natural fire and grazing regimes as management protocols in their tallgrass prairie preserves. I have also worked in Kruger Park, South Africa, for the past 16 years as part of the Ecosystem Convergence project comparing fire, climate and herbivore effects on savanna grasslands in North America and South Africa. I have served as the lead PI on our NSF-funded Sevilleta LTER Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates Program since 2008. The REU program supports independent research by undergraduate ecology and fine arts students each summer at the Sevilleta Field Station.