About - We are investigating the causes and consequences of changes in biodiversity. We study how biodiversity and ecosystem functioning respond to global environmental 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.



  • How do global environmental changes impact biodiversity and ecosystems?
  • How do changes in biodiversity influence ecosystems?
  • How do species coexist in diverse communities?


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


Authors Year Title Source PDF
Isbell et al. 2017 Linking the influence and dependence of people on biodiversity across scales Nature In press
Ren, …, Isbell, et al. 2017 Exacerbated nitrogen limitation ends transient stimulation of grassland productivity by increased precipitation Ecological Monographs In press
Isbell et al. 2017 Benefits of increasing plant diversity in sustainable agroecosystems Journal of Ecology In press
Ratajczak, …, Isbell, et al. 2017 The interactive effects of press/pulse intensity and duration on regime shifts at multiple scales Ecological Monographs In press
Fujii, …, Isbell 2017 Tree diversity improves decomposition rate and litter stabilization through mediating herbaceous diversity under forest restoration Journal of Applied Ecology In press
Turnbull, Isbell, et al. 2016 Understanding the value of plant diversity for ecosystem functioning through niche theory Proc. R. Soc. B 283:20160536
Keeler, …, Isbell, et al. 2016 The social cost of nitrogen: a spatially explicit framework for evaluating the nitrogen externality Science Advances 2:e1600219
Gonzalez, …, Isbell, et al. 2016 Estimating local biodiversity change: a critique of papers claiming no net loss of local diversity Ecology 97:1949-1960
Craven, Isbell, et al. 2016 Plant diversity effects on grassland productivity are robust to both nutrient enrichment and drought Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371:20150277
Mori, Isbell, et al. 2016 Low multifunctional redundancy of soil fungal diversity at multiple spatial scales Ecology Letters 19:249-259
Isbell et al. 2015 Biodiversity increases the resistance of ecosystem productivity to climate extremes Nature 526:574-577 PDF
Isbell et al. 2015 The biodiversity-dependent ecosystem services debt Ecology Letters 18:119-134 PDF
Isbell 2015 Agroecosystem diversification Nature Plants 1:15041 PDF
Tilman and Isbell 2015 Biodiversity: recovery as nitrogen declines Nature 528:336-337 PDF
Hautier, …, Isbell, et al. 2015 Anthropogenic environmental changes impact ecosystem stability via biodiversity Science 348:336-340 PDF
Zhang, …, Isbell, et al. 2015 Productivity depends more on the rate than the frequency of N addition Scientific Reports 5:12558 PDF
Dooley, Isbell, et al. 2015 Testing the effects of diversity on ecosystem multifunctionality using a multivariate model Ecology Letters 18:1242-1251 PDF
Lefcheck, …, Isbell, et al. 2015 Biodiversity enhances ecosystem multifunctionality across taxa, trophic levels, and habitats Nature Communications 6:6936 PDF
Avolio, …, Isbell, et al. 2015 A framework for quantifying the magnitude and variability of community responses to global change drivers Ecosphere 6:280 PDF
Venail, …, Isbell, et al. 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 PDF
Clark, …, Isbell, et al. 2015 Spatial 'convergent cross mapping' to detect causal relationships from short time-series Ecology 96:1174-1181 PDF
Isbell and Loreau 2014 Sustainability of human ecological niche construction Ecology and Society 19:45 PDF
Isbell 2014 Ecosystem Services In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press
Tilman, Isbell, and Cowles 2014 Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning Annu. Rev. Ecol. Evol. Syst. 45:471-493 PDF
Byrnes, …, Isbell, et al. 2014 Multifunctionality does not imply that all functions are positively correlated Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 111:E5490 PDF
Zhang, …, Isbell, et al. 2014 Rapid plant species loss at high rates and at low frequency of N addition in temperate steppe Global Change Biology 20:3520-3529 PDF
Byrnes, …, Isbell, et al. 2014 Investigating the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem multifunctionality: challenges and solutions Methods in Ecology and Evolution 5:111-124 PDF
Balvanera, …, Isbell, et al. 2014 Linking biodiversity and ecosystem services: current uncertainties and the necessary next step Bioscience 64:49-57 PDF
Isbell et al. 2013 Nutrient enrichment, biodiversity loss, and consequent declines in ecosystem productivity Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110:11911–11916 PDF
Isbell et al. 2013 Low biodiversity state persists two decades after cessation of nutrient enrichment Ecology Letters 16:454-460 PDF
Isbell and Loreau 2013 Human impacts on minimum subsets of species critical for maintaining ecosystem structure Basic and Applied Ecology 14:623-629 PDF
Polley, Isbell, and Wilsey 2013 Plant functional traits improve diversity-based predictions of temporal stability of grassland productivity Oikos 122:1275-1282 PDF
Huang, …, Isbell, et al. 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, Isbell, et al. 2013 Predicting ecosystem stability from community composition and biodiversity Ecology Letters 16:617-625 PDF
Connolly, …, Isbell, et al. 2013 An improved model to predict the effects of changing biodiversity levels on ecosystem function Journal of Ecology 101:344-355 PDF
Reich, …, Isbell, et al. 2012 Impacts of biodiversity loss escalate through time as redundancy fades Science 336:589-592 PDF
Tilman, Reich, and Isbell 2012 Biodiversity impacts ecosystem productivity as much as resources, disturbance, or herbivory Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109:10394-10397 PDF
Loreau, …, Isbell, et al. 2012 Niche and fitness differences relate the maintenance of diversity to ecosystem function: comment Ecology 93:1482-1487 PDF
Eisenhauer, Reich, and Isbell 2012 Decomposer diversity and identity influence plant diversity effects on ecosystem functioning Ecology 93:2227-2240 PDF
Isbell et al. 2011 High plant diversity is needed to maintain ecosystem services Nature 477:199-202 PDF
Isbell and Wilsey 2011 Increasing native, but not exotic, biodiversity increases aboveground productivity in ungrazed and intensely grazed grasslands Oecologia 165: 771-781 PDF
Isbell and Wilsey 2011 Rapid biodiversity declines in both ungrazed and intensely grazed exotic grasslands Plant Ecology 212:1663-1674 PDF
Hector, …, Isbell, et al. 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 2010 Causes and consequences of changing biodiversity Nature Education Knowledge 1: 11
Isbell, Polley, and Wilsey 2009 Biodiversity, productivity, and the temporal stability of productivity: patterns and processes Ecology Letters 12: 443-451 PDF
Isbell, Polley, and Wilsey 2009 Species interaction mechanisms maintain grassland plant species diversity Ecology 90: 1821-1830 PDF
Wilsey, …, Isbell, et al. 2009 Biodiversity maintenance mechanisms differ between native and exotic communities Ecology Letters 12: 432-442 PDF
Isbell et al. 2008 Diversity-productivity relationships in two ecologically realistic rarity-extinction scenarios Oikos 117: 996-1005 PDF

Contact -

Forest Isbell

University of Minnesota


Associate Director

Cedar Creek Ecosystem Science Reserve

2660 Fawn Lake Drive NE, East Bethel, Minnesota 55005


Adjunct Assistant Professor

Department of Ecology, Evolution & Behavior

1987 Upper Buford Circle, Saint Paul, Minnesota 55108


Phone: 1-612-301-2601