Distinguished Ecologists 2015-16

Bill Parton - Resident Distinguished Ecologist

October 21, 2015

Bill PartonBill Parton, a Senior Research Scientist and Professor, is a 40-year researcher studying the impacts of human activity on ecosystems and the environment. His focus is on climatic change research and atmosphere-biosphere interactions. Trained as a meteorologist, Dr. Parton has made a career as an ecosystem ecologist with a primary research focus on the development of ecosystem models which predict the impact of human activity on natural and agricultural ecosystems. More recently, he has applied his ecosystem models to evaluate the potential environmental impacts of ethanol production at the regional and national level.

Dr. Parton is a primary author of two of the most widely used ecosystems models (Century and DayCent) in the world. The Century family of models simulates plant production, soil organic matter dynamics, nutrient cycling, and trace gas fluxes at both regional and global scales.

Jesse Nippert - Honor Alumnus

November 4, 2015

Jesse NippertJesse Nippert is an Associate Professor in the Division of Biology at K-State with expertise in ecophysiology, focusing on the physiological responses of plants to environmental variability and water availability. His research can be divided among two categories: ecohydrology of tree-grass interactions, and assessing the mechanisms of woody plant encroachment in grassland ecosystems. Dr. Nippert uses a variety of methods including stable isotopic analysis, water stress responses, measurements of leaf, canopy, and landscape gas exchange, and sensor instrumentation.

For the past 6 years, Dr. Nippert has been working in the semi-arid savanna in north-east South Africa on questions related to tree-grass interactions, shrub encroachment, and herbivore dynamics.

Osvaldo Sala - Visiting Distinguished Ecologist

March 23 - 24, 2016
Dr. Sala's Schedule | Poster

Osvaldo Sala

Osvaldo Sala is the Julie A. Wrighley Professor at Arizona State University, where he contributes to both the School of Life Sciences and School of Sustainability. Dr. Sala has explored several topics throught his career from the response of arid ecosystems to climate and land-use change to global biodiversity scenarios for the next 50 years. His work is reflected in 200 peer-reviewed publications and several edited books. He has also served as a member of the Advisory Board to the Director of the National Science Foundation in issues of environmental research and education.

Dr. Sala started at ASU in 2010 from Brown University where he was the founding Director of the Environmental Change Initiative and the Sloan Lindemann Professor of Biology.

Deron Burkepile - Visiting Distinguished Ecologist

April 6 - 7, 2016
Dr. Burkepile's Schedule | Poster

Deron Burkepile

Deron Burkepile is an Associate Professor in Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His lab focuses on questions that provide fundamental understanding about the ecology of communities and ecosystems while also informing the conservation and restoration of these systems. Four themes define the lab's current work: (1) how exploitation of consumers and loss of consumer biodiversity impacts ecosystem function, (2) how predation risk affects herbivore distribution and their impact on plant communities, (3) how anthropogenic and consumer-derived nutrients impacts community dynamics and disease, and (4) how global change alters consumer-prey interactions.

While a Post-doctoral Fellow at Brown University, working in Melinda Smith's lab at Yale University, Dr. Burkepile worked on the interactions of herbivory, fire, and productivity in driving the ecology of African savannas.

Mark Boyce - Visiting Distinguished Ecologist

April 20 - 21, 2016
Dr. Boyce's Schedule | Poster

Mark Boyce

Mark Boyce is the Alberta Conservation Association Chair in Fisheries and Wildlife and Professor of Ecology at the University of Alberta. He has been in Canada since 1999 following academic appointments at the Universtiy of Wisconsin and the University of Wyoming. His research specialty is quantitative methods for conservation including applications of stochastic demography, population viability analysis, and habitat selection. Mark has studied a wide variety of species and ecological systems, but has focused on North American large mammals, particularly elk, moose, wolves, grizzly bears, black bears, and cougars.

In 2014 Mark was elected to the Royal Society of Canada and he received the ASTech Award for Outstanding Leadership in Science.