Skip to Content
Osvaldo Sala

Osvaldo Sala
Distinguished Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Founding Director, Global Drylands Center
Julie A. Wrigley Chair in Life Sciences and Sustainability
Professor, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Foundation Professor

Osvaldo.Sala@asu.edu
480-965-4120
Website

School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874501
Tempe, AZ 85287-4501

Osvaldo Sala joined Arizona State University as a Wrigley Professor in the School of Sustainability in August 2010. As president of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment and a coordinating lead author of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Sala is an international leader in ecological science and global environmental policy.

Sala has explored several topics throughout his career including water controls on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in arid and semi-arid ecosystems, the consequences of changes in biodiversity on the functioning of ecosystems, and the development of biodiversity scenarios for the next 50 years. He is particularly interested in working with scenarios as a way of simplifying, understanding, and communicating the complex relationships that emerge from the study of social-ecological systems. While pursuing all these different questions, he used different tools from direct observations, manipulative field experiments, to simulation modeling. His work encompasses a broad range of scales from the global to specific regions. He has worked in the Patagonian steppe, annual grasslands of California, steppes of Colorado and deserts of Southern Africa and currently he has experiments in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico. His work is reflected in more than 140 peer-reviewed publications and several co-authored books.

Sala has served as editor of Global Change Biology, the president of the Argentinean Society of Ecology, and a member of the governing board of the Ecological Society of America. Osvaldo Sala is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Argentinean National Academy of Sciences, and the Argentinean National Academy of Physical and Natural Sciences.

PhD, Ecology, Colorado State University, 1982

MS, Ecology, Colorado State University, 1979

BS, Agriculture, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1973

Journal Articles

2015

Gherardi, L. and O. E. Sala. 2015. Enhanced interannual precipitation variability increases plant functional diversity that in turn ameliorates negative impact on productivity. Ecology Letters 18(12):1293-1300. DOI: 10.1111/ele.12523. (link )

Gherardi, L. A. and O. E. Sala. 2015. Enhanced precipitation variability decreases grass- and increases shrub-productivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 112(41):12735-12740. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1506433112. (link )

Knapp, A. K., D. L. Hoover, K. R. Wilcox, M. L. Avolio, S. E. Koerner, K. J. La Pierre, M. E. Loik, O. E. Sala and M. D. Smith. 2015. Characterizing differences in precipitation regimes of extreme wet and dry years: Implications for climate change experiments. Global Change Biology 21(7):2624-2633. DOI: 10.1111/gcb.12888. (link )

Monger, C., O. E. Sala, M. C. Duniway, H. Goldfus, I. A. Meir, R. M. Poch, H. L. Throop and E. R. Vivoni. 2015. Legacy effects in linked ecological-soil-geomorphic systems of drylands. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 13(1):13-19. DOI: 10.1890/140269. (link )

2012

Schwartz, M. W., J. J. Hellmann, J. M. Mclachlan, D. F. Sax, J. O. Borevitz, J. Brennan, A. E. Camacho, G. Ceballos, J. R. Clark, H. Doremus, R. Early, J. R. Etterson, D. Fielder, J. L. Gill, P. Gonzalez, N. Green, L. Hannah, D. W. Jamieson, D. Javeline, B. A. Minteer, J. Odenbaugh, S. Polasky, D. M. Richardson, T. L. Root, H. D. Safford, O. E. Sala, S. H. Schneider, A. R. Thompson, J. W. Williams, M. Velland, P. Vitt and S. Zellmer. 2012. Managed relocation: Integrating the scientific, regulatory, and ethical challenges. BioScience 62(8):732-743. DOI: 10.1525/bio.2012.62.8.6 . (link )

Throop, H. L., L. G. Reichmann, O. E. Sala and S. R. Archer. 2012. Response of dominant grass and shrub species to water manipulation: An ecophysiological basis for shrub invasion in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Oecologia 169(2):373-383. DOI: 10.1007/s00442-011-2217-4. (link )

Book Chapters

2007

Knapp, A. K., J. M. Briggs, D. L. Childers and O. E. Sala. 2007. Estimating aboveground net primary production in grassland- and herbaceous-dominated ecosystems. Pp. 27-48 In: Fahey, T. J. and A. K. Knapp eds., Principles and Standards for Measuring Primary Production (Long-Term Ecological Research Network). Oxford University Press.

Presentations

2007

Shaver, G., T. Chapin, C. Duke, A. P. Kinzig, D. P. Peters and O. E. Sala. 2007. Ecological foundations of sustainability in a constantly changing world. San Jose McEnery Conference Center. Symposium organized at the August 6-10, 2007 Ecological Restoration in a Changing World at the 92nd Annual Meeting of the Ecological Society of America held with the Society for Ecological Restoration 18th International Conference, San Jose, CA.

Conference Papers

2012

Brouder, S. M., F. A. DeClerck, P. S. Kettlewell, A. M. Latta, E. F. Moran, S. C. Murray, T. L. Rabaey, P. K. Riggs, J. B. Ristaino, D. Rose and O. E. Sala. 2012. IDR Team Summary 5: Design production systems for ecosystem services that improve human outcomes related to food and nutrition. In: Carpenter, S. R., A. V. Diez Roux, G. Hornberger, H. Mooney, M. G. Morgan, R. Morss, S. P. Murphy, S. Polasky, W. Reid, B. E. Rittmann and B. L. Turner II eds., Washington, DC. Interdisciplinary Research Team Summaries from 10-13 November 2011 Conference at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center,. (link )

Report Chapters

2013

Yao, J., O. E. Sala and D. P. Peters. 2013. Cross-site studies "by design": Experiments and observations that provide new insights. Pp. 72-80 In: Peters, D. P., C. M. Laney, A. E. Lugo, S. L. Collins, C. T. Driscoll, P. M. Groffman, J. M. Grove, A. K. Knapp, T. K. Kratz, M. D. Ohman, R. B. Waide and J. Yao eds., Long-Term Trends in Ecological Systems: A Basis for Understanding Responses to Global Change. U.S. Department of Agriculture. Technical Bulletin 1931. Washington, D.C. (link )