Dr. Peter Reich, a renowned expert in forest ecology, has been named Director of the Institute for Global Change Biology (IGCB) at SEAS. Reich, who has conducted global change research on plants, soils, and ecosystems across a range of scales, will maintain a joint affiliation at the University of Minnesota (UMN), where he is a Regents Professor, Distinguished McKnight University Professor, and the F.B. Hubacheck Sr. Chair in Forest Ecology and Tree Physiology.
In addition to his work at UMN, Reich was the Chief Scientist at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University in Australia from 2011 to 2021. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a fellow of the Ecological Society of America, and a BBVA Prize Laureate (BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Ecology and Conservation Biology). He also helped launch the science education channel, MinuteEarth, which has more than 400 million views on YouTube and other platforms.
- Montgomery R, KE Rice, A Stefanski, RL Rich, PB Reich. 2020. "Phenological responses of temperate and boreal trees to warming depend on ambient spring temperatures, leaf habit, and geographic range." Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences 117:10397-10405
- Reich PB, SE Hobbie, TD Lee, R Rich, MA Pastore, K Worm. 2020. "Synergistic effects of four climate change drivers on terrestrial carbon cycling." Nature Geoscience (in press)
- Williams LJ, J Cavender-Bares, PA Townsend, JJ Couture, Z Wang, A Stefanski, C Messier, PB Reich. 2020. "Remote spectral detection of biodiversity effects on forest productivity." Nature Ecology and Evolution (in press).
- Pastore MA, TD Lee, SE Hobbie, PB Reich. 2019. "Strong photosynthetic acclimation and enhanced water‐use efficiency in grassland functional groups persist over 21 years of CO2 enrichment, independent of nitrogen supply." Global Change Biology 25:3031-3044
- Butler, EE., A Datta, H Flores-Moreno, M Chen, … PB Reich. 2017. "Mapping local and global variability in plant trait distributions." Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences E10937–E10946
My research focuses on understanding and stewarding nature—as that is among our most important collective challenges in the 21st century. How rapidly and where will climate change wreak havoc with our natural and managed ecosystems? How many tree species will go extinct in the next 50 years and why does it matter? Will ecosystems continue to sequester additional carbon and thus help to slow climate change? Can traits simplify the complexity of ecology enough that we can make predictable sense of it? Raising such questions is easier than answering them. To help address them I engage in small-group to large-team studies at scales from leaf to globe and on topics from biodiversity to biogeochemistry to climate change-social justice interactions. This work ranges from ecosystem-scale field experiments with factors such as CO2, temperature, rainfall, fire and biodiversity; to cross-continental observations and earth system modeling. Our work focuses on forests and grasslands of the temperate and boreal biomes, but also includes research in many other ecosystem types and regions.
Ph.D. 1983, Cornell University