Forest Isbell
Assistant Professor
Plant Sciences, Rm 3524
Phone Number:  706-542-4170
Office/Lab:  Plant Sciences, Rm 3505
Phone Number: 

Ph.D Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Iowa State University 2010

Research Projects: 

Research in my lab investigates the causes and consequences of changes in biodiversity at the intersection of community and ecosystem ecology. We often use field experiments to answer the following questions: (1) What are the consequences of global environmental changes for plant communities and ecosystems? (2) How do changes in plant diversity influence ecosystem functioning and stability? (3) How is plant diversity maintained? (4) To what extent do ecosystem services depend on plant diversity?

Grant Support: 

German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research. Plant diversity effects on ecosystem resistance to and recovery from perturbations. N. Eisenhauer and F. Isbell. 2013-2014.

Selected Publications: 
  • Isbell, F. and M. Loreau. 2014. Sustainability of human ecological niche construction. Ecology and Society In press
  • Byrnes, J. E. K., L. Gamfeldt, F. Isbell, J. S. Lefcheck, J. N. Griffin, A. Hector, B. J. Cardinale, D. U. Hooper, L. E. Dee, and J. E. Duffy. 2014. Investigating the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality: challenges and solutions. Methods in Ecology and Evolution In press
  • Balvanera, P., I. Siddique, L. Dee, A. Paquette, F. Isbell, A. Gonzalez, J. Byrnes, M. I. O’Conner, B. A. Hungate, and J. N. Griffin. 2014. Linking biodiversity and ecosystem services: current uncertainties and the necessary next step. BioScience 64:49-57.
  • Isbell, F. and M. Loreau. 2013. Human impacts on minimum subsets of species critical for maintaining ecosystem structure. Basic and Applied Ecology 14:623-629.
  • Isbell, F., P. B. Reich, D. Tilman, S. E. Hobbie, S. Polasky, and S. Binder. 2013. Nutrient enrichment, biodiversity loss, and consequent declines in ecosystem productivity. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110:11911–11916.
  • Polley, H. W., F. Isbell, and B. J. Wilsey. 2013. Plant functional traits improve diversity-based predictions of temporal stability of grassland productivity. Oikos 122:1275-1282.
  • Huang, Y., L. M. Martin, F. Isbell, and B. J. Wilsey. 2013. Is community persistence related to diversity? A test with prairie species in a long-term experiment. Basic and Applied Ecology 14:199-207.
  • de Mazancourt, C., F. Isbell, A. Larocque, F. Berendse, E. De Luca, B. Haegeman, H. W. Polley, C. Roscher, B. Schmid, D. Tilman, J. van Ruijven, A. Weigelt, B. J. Wilsey, and M. Loreau. 2013. Predicting ecosystem stability from community composition and biodiversity. Ecology Letters 16:617-625.
  • Isbell, F., D. Tilman, S. Polasky, S. Binder, and P. Hawthorne. 2013. Low biodiversity state persists two decades after cessation of nutrient enrichment. Ecology Letters 16:454-460.
  • Connolly, J., T. Bell, T. Bolger, C. Brophy, T. Carnus, J. A. Finn, L. Kirwan, F. Isbell, J. Levine, A. Lüscher, V. Picasso, C. Roscher, M. T. Sebastia, M. Suter, A. Weigelt. 2013. An improved model to predict the effects of changing biodiversity levels on ecosystem function. Journal of Ecology 101:344-355.
  • Reich, P. B., D. Tilman, F. Isbell, K. Mueller, S. E. Hobbie, D. Flynn and N. Eisenhauer. 2012. Impacts of biodiversity loss escalate through time as redundancy fades. Science 336:589-592.
  • Tilman, D., P. 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., V. Calcagno, A. Hector, J. Connolly, W. S. Harpole, P. B. Reich, M. Scherer-Lorenzen, B. Schmid, D. Tilman, J. van Ruijven, A. Weigelt, B. J. Wilsey, E. S. Zavaleta, and M. Loreau. 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.
  • Isbell, F. I., H. W. Polley, and B. J. Wilsey. 2009. Biodiversity, productivity, and the temporal stability of productivity: patterns and processes. Ecology Letters 12: 443-451.