Archive by Category "News & Events"

News & Events

Schädel carbon cycle

Ecoss Assistant Research Professor Christina Schädel talks to KNAU and explains what the latest IPCC Special Report on 1.5° warming means for Arizona. Schädel was a contributing author to the report. Short excerpt from the interview: KNAU: What kind of changes are we seeing from climate change here in Arizona? Schädel: Imagine if we have any more days in Phoenix for example where temperatures go above 100 degrees F, and there will be even more when it goes above 115. So we have this already now sometimes in the summer, and it’s not pleasant, and if we have even more, you have skyrocketing air conditioning costs, for example. Another aspect is that the water supply in Arizona is going to change drastically and it’s going to become very unreliable….. Every place will see some form of climate change. It will...
Michelle Mack lab

Ecoss professor Michelle Mack is featured in the journal Fire as a woman leader in fire science. The article recognizes international women leaders in fire research and development. Read the article here

Deep beneath the tundra near Eight Mile Lake in Alaska, at the “thaw front” where the active layer meets the permafrost, Northern Arizona University postdoctoral researcher Rebecca Hewitt has been observing a surprising rally: mycorrhizal fungi are congregating, in some cases taking up nitrogen as it’s released from the permafrost into the active layer. Using isotope tracers, Hewitt and her team have found these same fungi at the roots of plants whose root systems are too shallow to reach the thaw front. Hewitt’s findings suggest that these fungi, not yet well-understood, may operate like a superefficient meal kit delivery system for the tundra’s plant communities. Read the full NAU article here Read the full publication in the Journal of Ecology here
Jane Marks

Some experts estimate that a single mature oak tree produces between 200,000 and 1 million leaves each year—all of which fall from the tree in the autumn. Although “litter” from decaying leaves is sometimes viewed as a problem in urban and suburban settings, fallen leaves play a critical role in the natural world. Decomposing leaves replenish the soil by releasing carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus and other inorganic compounds into the food web, but scientists don’t yet have a complete understanding of this complex process or how it is being affected by climate change. Stream ecologist Jane Marks, professor of biology and faculty of Northern Arizona University’s Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss), studies the effects of leaf litter, chiefly within stream ecosystems.   Read the full NAU article here
This Verse Business

Please join the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society and Flagstaff Arts Council Saturday, September 29 for the Flagstaff premier of "This Verse Business," a play that offers a new window into Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Frost's personal life and poetic works. Frost is portrayed by Emmy-winning Gordon Clapp from NYPD Blue. Written and directed by Andy Dolan. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at the door, online at the Coconino Center for the Arts, or by calling (928) 779-2300. Doors at 7, Curtain at 8 PM.
NAU campus overview

PhD and MS positions in Ecosystem Ecology are available in the Center for Ecosystem Science and Society (Ecoss) at Northern Arizona University. The Ecoss mission is to conduct high-impact, innovative research on ecosystems and how they respond to and shape environmental change, to train next-gen scientists, and to communicate discovery and its relevance to people. Graduate student benefits include stipend (TA or RA), tuition waiver, health insurance, support for summer fieldwork in a variety of beautiful ecosystems, and winter in the peaks of sunny Flagstaff, AZ. Candidates should explore the Ecoss website ( and contact the professor whose interests align most closely. Please include a cover letter describing background, research interests, and qualifications, as well as a current resume/curriculum vitae (CV). Program applications can be submitted to the Department of Biological Sciences, due January 15, 2019 after communicating with faculty...
Ogle and collaborators

When it comes to how climate change is impacting ecosystems, there’s no shortage of data out there. But finding enough people who know both ecology and how to interpret that data can be a different story. Ecoss affiliated professor Kiona Ogle leads the multi million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation together with co-PIs Jay Barber, Andrew Richardson, Benjamin Ruddel, and Temuulen Sankey. This collaboration among Ecoss and the School of Informatics, Computing, and Cyber Systems (SICCS) is a unique grant that will train graduate students in tackling big ecological questions through informatics, collaboration and better communication. Read the full NAU news article here

Ecoss ecologist Ted Schuur, who’s received a $600,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a carbon observatory at Eight Mile Lake near Denali National Park in Alaska, calls the permafrost’s massive release of greenhouse gases into the Earth’s atmosphere a “wild card,” and potentially a tipping point, for the global climate. The five-year NSF grant is part of the NSF’s Navigating the New Arctic initiative, the grant is offered through the Long Term Research in Environmental Biology (LTREB) program, which supports researchers who have already collected six years of continuous data. Using these parameters, LTREB grants are designed to support important scientific questions that require a longer timeline—often decades—to answer. Read the full NAU article here
Sevilleta LTER

Ecoss ecologist Yiqi Luo and collaborators in a multi-site research team have been awarded a 6-year, $6.4 million grant from the National Science Foundation to study dryland ecosystems at the Sevilleta Long Term Ecological Research site in New Mexico. Luo and his team will be studying how the changing climate transforms drylands using observational, experimental and modeling techniques. They hope to predict how whole ecosystems will respond to the hotter, drier conditions being recorded in drylands across the planet. Read the NAU news article here
Boreal forest phenology with warming by V. Leshyk

New findings published in the journal Nature by Ecoss researcher Andrew Richardson offer some of the first experiment-based evidence that a warmer world will significantly shift ecosystem-wide growing seasons, putting plants at higher risk during extreme temperature swings. Experimental enclosure at the SPRUCE site Image of PhenoCam at the Spruce site Richardson and a team of collaborators conducted a unique experiment in boreal forests showing that warmer temperatures triggered earlier springs and delayed the onset of fall—lengthening the growing season by three weeks or more. Surprisingly, the longer growing season increased the vegetation’s vulnerability to frost events.     Read the full NAU News article here and a behind the scene blog post written by Andrew Richardson. Read the publication here
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