Jeff Dukes

Community, ecosystem, and global ecology, biodiversity and biological invasions, human interactions with ecosystems.

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…pre-2013 news posts are available in the news archive.


See the lab's Publications page for a list and links to downloadable papers, or visit my Google Scholar or ResearchGate pages.


I grew up in Northern California, attended Brown University as an undergraduate and did my Ph.D. research in the Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University. My thesis advisor was Hal Mooney. The core of my dissertation research was published in Oecologia (Dukes 2001) and Ecological Applications (Dukes 2002).

After grad school, I spent two years as a Hollaender Postdoctoral Fellow in the lab of Jim Ehleringer at the University of Utah. I worked on several projects during this time. Early results from one of these projects were published in Ecology Letters (Hooper & Dukes 2004). The project from this time period that garnered the most attention was my paper "Burning buried sunshine," published in Climatic Change (Dukes 2003).

During 2002 and 2003, I helped coordinate the Jasper Ridge Global Change Experiment. This project, led by Chris Field and in operation since 1998, applied warming, elevated CO2, nitrogen, and water (in a full factorial design) to plots of California grassland (Dukes et al. 2005). A fire that burned through part of the experiment in 2003 changed the experimental design somewhat, and added interesting new angles. I and other researchers on this project have investigated how ecosystems will respond to predicted future climate and atmospheric conditions. We've studied the productivity of ecosystems, interactions among various members of plant communities, carbon storage on land, and other properties of ecosystems. Subsequently, I have collaborated on a data-model intercomparison, and also examined how the various aspects of global change influence the success of yellow starthistle, the invasive species used in some of my previous work (Dukes et al. 2011).

For several years, David Hooper (Western Washington University) and I have studied how the functional group composition and richness of a plant community affect that community's invasibility (e.g., Hooper & Dukes 2010). We are attempting to correlate resource availability with invasibility, and we are examining whether functional group diversity moderates the impact of invaders. Dave has a more detailed description of the project on one of his web pages. I have some photos of the research site here.

I worked with Lindsey Rustad (USFS) and several other researchers on NE Forests 2100. This project compiled and published a synthesis of climatic change research in the northeastern U.S. and eastern Canada.

With funding from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy (previously from the National Institute for Climatic Change Research and currently from the Terrestrial Ecosystem Science division), my group is directing the Boston-Area Climate Experiment (BACE) in Waltham, Massachusetts. The BACE is designed to characterize old-field responses to climate change, and features 4 levels of warming across each of three precipitation treatments. Many other laboratories are collaborating on various aspects of the experiment. I welcome inquiries from researchers, prospective students, and middle- and high-school teachers who are interested in getting involved with the BACE.

I also lead the NSF-funded INTERFACE Research Coordination Network, which seeks to advance global environmental change research by bringing together researchers conducting field experiments, researchers who use ecosystem-scale models, and researchers working on land-atmosphere interactions in Earth system models (ESMs). More detail about the network's activities and goals are at the INTERFACE web site.

Some of the questions being asked in my lab

  • What properties of ecosystems make them susceptible to invasion by non-native species?
  • What properties of ecosystems make them vulnerable to the IMPACTS of invaders?
  • How will the various elements of global change, such as climate change, increasing CO2, and increasing nitrogen deposition affect the species composition of plant communities?
  • Are invasive species favored by global changes?
  • How do changes in community composition alter ecosystem structure and function?
  • How do changes in climate alter ecosystem structure and function?
  • How can we best restore invaded ecosystems?

Major projects being led by my lab include The Boston-Area Climate Experiment and the INTERFACE research coordination network. We also participate in research on the ecosystem services provided by intact and restored prairies, on the role of the soil microbial community in regulating interactions among competing plants, and on a variety of other topics.

Interested students should visit the lab's Opportunities page.