About - We are investigating the causes and consequences of changes in biodiversity. We study how biodiversity and ecosystem functioning respond to global changes, such as land use changes, nutrient enrichment, exotic species introductions, and climate extremes. We also study the responses of ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services to changes in biodiversity.

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  • How do global changes impact communities and ecosystems?
  • How do changes in biodiversity influence ecosystem functioning?
  • How do changes in biodiversity influence stability?
  • How do plant species coexist?
  • To what extent do ecosystem services depend on biodiversity?


Publications - Reprints are provided for single-user, noncommercial use.


Authors Year Title Source PDF
F. Isbell, D. Tilman, S. Polasky, and M. Loreau 2015 The biodiversity-dependent ecosystem services debt Ecology Letters 18:119-134
F. Isbell 2015 Agroecosystem diversification Nature Plants 1:15041
Hautier, Y., D. Tilman, F. Isbell, E. W. Seabloom, E. T. Borer, and P. B. Reich 2015 Anthropogenic environmental changes impact ecosystem stability via biodiversity Science 348:336-340
Avolio, M., K. La Pierre, G. Houseman, E. Grman, F. Isbell, D. Johnson, S. Koerner, and K. Wilcox 2015 A framework for quantifying the magnitude and variability of community responses to global change drivers Ecosphere In press
Lefcheck, J. S., J. E. K. Byrnes, F. Isbell, L. Gamfeldt, J. N. Griffin, N. Eisenhauer, M. J. S. Hensel, A. Hector, B. J. Cardinale, and J. E. Duffy 2015 Biodiversity enhances ecosystem multifunctionality across taxa, trophic levels, and habitats Nature Communications 6:6936
Venail, P., K. Gross, T. H. Oakley, A. Narwani, E. Allan, P. Flombaum, F. Isbell, J. Joshi, P. B. Reich, D. Tilman, J. van Ruijven, B. J. Cardinale 2015 Species richness, but not phylogenetic diversity, influences community biomass production and temporal stability in a re-examination of 16 grassland biodiversity studies Functional Ecology 29:615-626
Clark, A. T., H. Ye, F. Isbell, E. R. Deyle, J. Cowles, D. Tilman, and G. Sugihara 2015 Spatial 'convergent cross mapping' to detect causal relationships from short time-series Ecology 96:1174-1181
Isbell, F. and M. Loreau 2014 Sustainability of human ecological niche construction Ecology and Society 19:45
Isbell, F. 2014 Ecosystem Services In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press
Tilman, D., F. Isbell, and J. M. Cowles 2014 Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 45:471-493
Byrnes, J., J. S. Lefcheck, L. Gamfeldt, J. N. Griffin, F. Isbell, and A. Hector 2014 Multifunctionality does not imply that all functions are positively correlated Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111:E5490
Zhang, Y., X. Lu, F. Isbell, C. Stevens, X. Han, N. He, G. Zhang, Q. Yu, J. Huang, and X. Han 2014 Rapid plant species loss at high rates and at low frequency of N addition in temperate steppe Global Change Biology 20:3520-3529
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 5:111-124
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., 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 PDF
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 PDF
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 PDF
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 PDF
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 PDF
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 PDF
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 PDF
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 PDF
Tilman, D., P. B. Reich, and F. Isbell 2012 Biodiversity impacts ecosystem productivity as much as resources, disturbance, or herbivory Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109:10394-10397 PDF
Loreau, M., J. Sapijanskas, F. Isbell, and A. Hector 2012 Niche and fitness differences relate the maintenance of diversity to ecosystem function: comment Ecology 93:1482-1487 PDF
Eisenhauer, N., P. B. Reich, and F. Isbell 2012 Decomposer diversity and identity influence plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning Ecology 93:2227-2240 PDF
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 PDF
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 PDF
Isbell, F. I., and B. J. Wilsey 2011 Rapid biodiversity declines in both ungrazed and intensely grazed exotic grasslands Plant Ecology 212:1663-1674 PDF
Hector, A., T. Bell, Y. Hautier, F. Isbell, M. Kery, P. B. Reich, J. van Ruijven, and B. Schmid 2011 BUGS in the analysis of biodiversity experiments: species richness and composition are of similar importance for grassland productivity PLoS ONE 6: e17434 PDF
Isbell, F. I. 2010 Causes and consequences of changing biodiversity Nature Education Knowledge 1: 11
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 PDF
Isbell, F. I., H. W. Polley, and B. J. Wilsey 2009 Species interaction mechanisms maintain grassland plant species diversity Ecology 90: 1821-1830 PDF
Wilsey, B. J., T. B. Teaschner, P. P. Daneshgar, F. I. Isbell, and H. W. Polley 2009 Biodiversity maintenance mechanisms differ between native and exotic communities Ecology Letters 12: 432-442 PDF
Isbell, F. I., D. A. Losure, K. A. Yurkonis, and B. J. Wilsey 2008 Diversity-productivity relationships in two ecologically realistic rarity-extinction scenarios Oikos 117: 996-1005 PDF

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Forest Isbell

Associate Director

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve


Adjunct Assistant Professor

Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior


University of Minnesota

1987 Upper Buford Circle, Saint Paul MN 55108

Phone: 1-612-301-2601