James Elser

  • Distinguished Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • Regents' Professor, Ecology, Evolution, and Environmental Sciences, School of Life Sciences, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Affiliated Faculty, Center for Biodiversity Outcomes, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
  • President, Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography

School of Life Sciences
Arizona State University
PO Box 874501
Tempe, AZ 85287-4501
480-965-9747
Email: j.elser@asu.edu
Web: http://elserlab.asu.edu/

Biography

Dr. Elser's research involves the integrative field of biological stoichiometry, the study of balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in living systems. While this work is primarily ecological in focus and includes studies of both aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and biota, the approach uses an evolutionary perspective to integrate levels of organization from the molecule and cell to the ecosystem. Specific studies involve observational and experimental studies at various scales, including laboratory cultures, short-term field experiments and sustained whole-ecosystem manipulations. Over the years, field sites have included the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario, Canada; lakes of the Arctic, Colorado and Norway; lakes, forests, and grasslands of the upper Midwest; desert springs in Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert; hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, and the surrounding Sonoran Desert. In addition, Dr. Elser collaborates extensively with mathematicians in developing quantitative theoretical approaches to these questions. In more recent work he has extended the work to investigate the connections among C:N:P stoichiometry, growth rate, rRNA physiology and genetics, and ecological dynamics in diverse biota and ecosystems and to evaluate the application of these ideas to tumor dynamics. Dr. Elser has received numerous awards for his innovative research and teaching, including election as a Fellow to the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS). Currently, he is an active member of the ASU's NASA-funded Astrobiology project "Follow the Elements" and a co-organizer of ASU's Sustainable Phosphorus Initiative.

Expertise

biological stoichiometry; limnology; community ecology; ecosystem ecology; physiological ecology; life-history evolution; molecular evolution; astrobiology; atmospheric nitrogen deposition; atmospheric processes; agriculture; climate change impacts; marine ecology; plant ecology; species adaptation; terrestrial ecology; biogeochemical processes

Education

PhD, Ecology, University of California-Davis, 1990

MS, Ecology, University of Tennessee, 1983

BS, Biology, summa cum laude, University of Notre Dame, 1981

Journal Articles

2014

Zhang, Z., J. J. Elser, A. J. Cease, X. Zhang, Q. Yu and X. Han. 2014. Grasshoppers regulate N:P stoichiometric homeostasis by changing phosphorus contents in their frass. PLOS One 9(8):e103697. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103697. (link)

2013

Borer, E. T., M. E. Bracken, E. W. Seabloom, J. E. Smith, J. Cebrian, E. E. Cleland, J. J. Elser, W. F. Fagan, D. S. Gruner, W. S. Harpole, H. Hillebrand, A. J. Kerkhoff and J. T. Ngai. 2013. Global biogeography of autotroph chemistry: Is insolation a driving force?. Oikos 122(8):1121-1130. DOI: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2013.00465.x. (link)

Cease, A. J. and J. J. Elser. 2013. Biological stoichiometry. Nature Education Knowledge 4(5):3. (link)

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Books

2013

Wyant, K. A., J. Corman and J. J. Elser eds. 2013. Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future. Oxford University Press.

Book Chapters

2013

Childers, D. L., Z. Caple, C. Carlielle-Marquet, D. Cordell, V. Gerhart, D. Iwaniec and S. White. 2013. Future scenarios for the sustainable use of global phosphorus resources: P is for preferred (p)futures. In: Wyant, K. A., J. Corman and J. J. Elser eds., Phosphorus, Food, and Our Futures. Oxford Press.

Corman, J., K. A. Wyant and J. J. Elser. 2013. Concluding remarks: Synthesis and initial steps toward a sustainable phosphorus future. Pp. 199-212 In: Wyant, K. A., J. Corman and J. J. Elser eds., Phosphorus, Food, and Our Future. Oxford University Press.

Corman, J., K. A. Wyant, L. Taylor, D. Iwaniec and R. L. Hale. 2013. Preface. In: Wyant, K. A., J. Corman and J. J. Elser eds., Phosphorus, Food, and Our Futures. Oxford University Press.

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Posters

2010

Cease, A. J., J. J. Elser, S. Hao, L. Kang and J. F. Harrison. 2010. Grasshopper developmental plasticity in heavilygrazed Asian Steppe pastures. Poster presented at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology 2010 Annual Meeting, 3-7 January 2010, Seattle, WA. (link)

2009

Cease, A. J., S. Hao, L. Kang, J. J. Elser and J. F. Harrison. 2009. High density and high nitrogen: A dual stressor for grasshoppers?. Poster presented at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology 2009 Annual Meeting, 3-7 Janiary 2009, Boston, MA. (link)

1999

Elser, J. J. 1999. CAP LTER K-12 education program. Poster presented at the 22 January 1999, CAP LTER First Annual Poster Symposium, Center for Environmental Studies, Arizona State University, Tempe.

Presentations

2014

Cease, A. J., M. Fay, J. J. Elser and J. F. Harrison. 2014. Dietary phosphate strongly and nonlinearly affects performance of an omnivourous herbivore. Presentation at the Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting, 3-7 January 2014, Austin, TX. (link)

2013

Cease, A. J., J. J. Elser, S. Hao and J. F. Harrison. 2013. Low plant nitrogen content and high population density enhance migratory characters in a polyphenic locust. Presentation at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting 2013, 3-7 January 2013, San Francisco, CA. (link)

Cease, A. J., J. F. Harrison, S. J. Simpson and J. J. Elser. 2013. Mongolian locusts may require balanced diets to develop migratory swarms. Presentation at the Australian Entomological Society Annual Meeting, 20 September-2 October 2013, Adelaide, South Australia. (link)

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