1987 Upper Buford Circle
Saint Paul, MN 55108
The Isbell lab investigates how changes in biodiversity alter ecosystem functioning, stability, and services. We also study how global environmental changes (e.g., habitat loss and fragmentation, nutrient enrichment, climate change, exotic species invasions) are driving changes in biodiversity and ecosystems. Most of our studies consider plant diversity in grasslands and forests, but we have also reintroduced bison to an oak savanna.
I am broadly interested in questions at the intersection of community and ecosystem ecology. I use field experiments to investigate the causes and consequences of changes in plant diversity, often in grasslands at Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve. I also lead synthesis studies across many ecosystems to determine the generality of our findings at Cedar Creek.
To understand the causes of changes in plant diversity, I study how biodiversity responds to anthropogenic drivers, such as land use changes, nutrient enrichment, exotic species invasions, and extreme climatic events. I am particularly interested in whether cessation of these anthropogenic perturbations leads to recovery of biodiversity, or whether the community remains stuck in an alternative stable state. To understand the consequences of changes in plant diversity, I study how ecosystem functioning (for example, productivity) and ecosystem services (for example, carbon storage for climate regulation) respond to changes in plant diversity. I am now combining these efforts to quantify the extent to which anthropogenic perturbations influence ecosystem processes by restructuring communities and altering biodiversity.
Isbell, F., D. Tilman, P. B. Reich, and A. T. Clark. 2019. Deficits of biodiversity and productivity linger a century after agricultural abandonment. Nature Ecology and Evolution 3:1533-1538
Isbell, et al. 2017 Linking the influence and dependence of people on biodiversity across scales Nature 546:65-72
Isbell, et al. 2017 Benefits of increasing plant diversity in sustainable agroecosystems Journal of Ecology 105:871-879
Isbell, F., et al. 2015. Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes. Nature 526:574-577.
Isbell, F., et al. 2015. The biodiversity-dependent ecosystem service debt. Ecology Letters 18:119-134.
Hautier, Y., D. Tilman, F. Isbell, et al. 2015. Anthropogenic environmental changes affect ecosystem stability via biodiversity. Science 348:336-340.
Isbell, F., et al. 2013. Nutrient enrichment, biodiversity loss, and consequent declines in ecosystem productivity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110:11911–11916.
Isbell, F., et al. 2013. Low biodiversity state persists two decades after cessation of nutrient enrichment. Ecology Letters 16:454-460.
Reich, P. B., D. Tilman, F. Isbell, et al. 2012. Impacts of biodiversity loss escalate through time as redundancy fades. Science 336:589-592.
Tilman, D., P. B. Reich, and F. Isbell. 2012. Biodiversity impacts ecosystem productivity as much as resources, disturbance, or herbivory. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 109:10394–10397.
Isbell, F., et al. 2011. High plant diversity is needed to maintain ecosystem services. Nature 477:199-202.
Isbell, F. I., and B. J. Wilsey. 2011. Increasing native, but not exotic, biodiversity increases aboveground productivity in ungrazed and intensely grazed grasslands. Oecologia 165: 771-781.