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David Wardle(brief bio) David Wardle works as a Professor of Soil and Plant Ecology, and his research explores the links between aboveground and belowground communities and their consequences for ecosystem functioning. Much of his research is field based, and includes work in Swedish boreal forest and subarctic tundra, and forests in New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere. Current projects focus on ecosystem impacts of invasive biota; consequences of wildfire; ecological changes across successional, retrogressive and elevational gradients; aspects of island ecology; and the ecological role of forest understory vegetation. He has authored two books on aboveground-belowground linkages (published by Princeton University Press in 2002 and Oxford University Press in 2010), and around 230 peer-reviewed journal articles of which around 20 have appeared in Science and Nature. He serves or has served on several editorial boards, including Science, Ecology and Ecology Letters. He has also been designated as a highly cited scientist (in both the 'old' 2001 and 'new' 2014 lists) and as among the world’s 20 most cited scientists in ecology and environmental sciences, and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Wallenberg Scholar. 




Current Position:
Professor of Soil and Plant Ecology
Current Research Activities - click here
Academic training
Professional activities and recognition
Current PhD students and postdocs
Former PhD students and postdocs
Contact information

 Academic training:

1990: PhD in Soil Ecology, University of Calgary, Canada
1986: BSc (first class honours), Canterbury University, Christchurch, New Zealand

 Professional activities and recognition:

Current Editorial work:
Science - Board of Reviewing Editors (2009-)
'Biodiversity, Communities and Ecosystems' book series, Springer, Editor (2014-)
Journal of Ecology - Editorial Board (2013-)
New Zealand Journal of Ecology - Editorial Board (1997-)
Ideas in Ecology and Evolution - Editorial Board (2008-)

Previous Editorial work: 
Ecology and  Ecological Monographs - Board of Editors (2005-2013)
Pedobiologia - Editorial Board (1998-2014)
Ecology Letters - Receiving Editor (2001-2006) 
Soil Biology and Biochemistry - Subject Editor (1997 - 2002)
Biology and Fertility of Soils - Editorial Board (1999 - 2002)
New Zealand Journal of Ecology - Chief Editor (1998-2003).

Adjunct Positions:
Adjunct Professor - University of Canterbury, New Zealand
Affiliate Professor - University of Alaska at Fairbanks
Research Associate - Landcare Research, Lincoln, New Zealand
Recipient of a 'Wallenberg Scholar' award, 2011-2015 
Recognised by ISI as a "Highly Cited" researcher in the field of Ecology/Environment, both on the 'old' 2001 list and the 'new' 2014 list.
Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand (NZ's academy of the sciences); elected 2003.
Recipient of an inaugural SLU 'Excellence Award' (2006), NZ Ecological Society annual award (2001), NZ Association of Scientists Research Medal (1999).

 Current Postdocs and Ph.D. students advised or co-advised:

Jordan Mayor (postdoc). Project: Ecosystem-level changes across elevational gradients.

Xavier Cavard (Postdoc). Project: 'Linkages between fire history and ecosystem processes on islands in Lake Duparquat, Quebec'. 

Nathalie Pluchon (PhD student). Project: The influence of wildfire-derived charcoal on ecosystem carbon storage and fluxes (advisors: D. Wardle, M.-C. Nilsson, P. Kardol and M. Gundale)

Bright Kumordzi (PhD student). Project: The ecological significance of within-species leaf trait variability (advisors: D. Wardle, M.-C. Nilsson and M. Gundale).

Jonathan De Long (PhD student). Project: Aboveground-belowground linkages in northern boreal and subarctic communities (advisors: D. Wardle, M-C. Nilsson, E. Dorrepaal and R. Giesler).  

Babs Stuiver (PhD student). Project: Effect of understory vegetation on forest regeneration and response to disturbance (advisors: M.-C. Nilsson, M. Gundale and D. Wardle)

Anna Henriksson (PhD student). Project: Biotic resistance: Influence of species richness, saturation, and resistant species (advisors: G. Englund, J. Yu and D. Wardle; based at Umeå University)

Signe Lett (PhD student). Project: Moss traits predicting climate-warming induced forest expansion across tundra habitats (advisors, E. Dorrepaal, M.-C. Nilsson and D. Wardle; based at Umeå University)

 Former Postdocs and Ph.D. Students advised or co-advised:

Maja Sundqvist (PhD student 2007-2011; postdoc 2011-2014)

Ciska Veen (postdoc 2011-2014)

Mel Durrett (PhD student, defended 2014; advisors: C. Mulder and D. Wardle)

Gregoire Freschet (postdoc 2011-2013)

Andrea Vincent (postdoc 2012-2013)

Stef Bokhorst (postdoc 2011-2013)

Johan Asplund (Postdoc 2011-2013)

Guillaume Bay (PhD student 2008-2013; advisors: M.-C. Nilsson, D. Wardle and U. Rasmussen)

Anne Tomlinson (PhD student, defended 2013, advisors: J. Beggs, D. Wardle and P. Johnson)

Benjamin Jackson (PhD student 2007-2012; advisors D. Wardle, M.-C. Nilsson and D. Peltzer).

Paul Kardol (postdoc 2009-2011)

Zhanfeng Liu (postdoc 2010-2011)

Sheel Bansal (postdoc 2009-2011; advisors M.-C. Nilsson and D. Wardle)

Micael Jonsson  (postdoc 2006-2009)

Fujio Hyodo (postdoc 2007-2009)

Camilla Esberg (PhD student 2006-2010; advisors R. Giesler, B. Graae and D. Wardle)

Hiroko Kurokawa (postdoc 2005-2007; advisors: D. Wardle and D. Peltzer)

Fiona Dearden (PhD student 2003-2007)

Helena Dehlin (PhD student 2002-2006; advisors: M-C Nilsson and D. Wardle)

Katja Ilmarinen (PhD student 2002-2006; advisors: J. Mikola and D. Wardle)

Tadashi Fukami (postdoc 2003-2005; advisors: D. Wardle and P. Bellingham)

Kate Orwin (PhD student 2000-2004; advisors: D. Wardle and L. Greenfield)

Wendy Williamson (postdoc 1999-2002)

Duane Peltzer (postdoc 2000-2001)

Lena Jonsson (postdoc 1998-1999; advisors: M.-C. Nilsson and D. Wardle)

Juha Mikola (postdoc 1998-1999)

Fabienne Charpentier (postdoc 1995-1996)

Lab rotation (visiting and collaborating) Postdocs and Ph.D students

Gregory Crutsinger (Ph.D. student, University of Tennessee, USA) (2007)

Ruth Gregg (Ph.D student, University of Lancaster, UK) (2006, 2007)

Enrique Doblas-Miranda (Ph. D. student, University of Granada, Spain) (2005, 2007)

Christien Ettema (Postdoc, Wageningen University, Netherlands) (2002)



(1) Bardgett, R. D. and Wardle, D. A. 2010. "Aboveground-Belowground Linkages: Biotic Interactions, Ecosystem Processes and Global Change". Oxford University Press (Oxford Series in Ecology and Evolution).

(2) Wardle, D. A. 2002. "Communities and Ecosystems: Linking the Aboveground and Belowground Components" Princeton University Press (Monographs in Population Biology series).

ALL PUBLICATIONS (Google Citations) - click here


Jonsson, M., Kardol, P., Gundale, M. J., Bansal, S., Nilsson, M.-C., Metcalfe, D. B. and Wardle, D. A. (2015) Direct and indirect drivers of moss community structure, function and associated microfauna across a successional gradient. Ecosystems (in press).

Henriksson, A., Yu, J., Wardle, D. A. and Englund, G. (2015) Biotic resistance in freshwater fish communities: species richness, saturation or species identity? Oikos (in press). 

Kumordzi, B. B., Wardle, D.A. and Freschet, G.T. (2015) Plant assemblages do not respond homogenously to local variation in environmental conditions: functional responses differ with species identity and abundance. Journal of Vegetation Science (in press).

Mulder, C. P. H., Wardle, D. A., Durrett, M. S. and Bellingham, P. J. (2015) Leaf damage by herbivores and pathogens on New Zealand islands that differ in seabird densities. New Zealand Journal of Ecology (in press).

Freschet, G., Kichenin, E. and Wardle, D. A. (2015) Explaining within-community variation in plant biomass allocation: a balance between organ biomass and morphology above versus belowground? Journal of Vegetation Science (in press).

Clemmensen. K. E., Finlay, R. D., Dahlberg, A., Stenlid, J., Wardle, D. A. and Lindahl, B. D. (2015)
Carbon sequestration is related to mycorrhizal fungal community shifts during long term succession in boreal forests. New Phytologist (in press).

De Long, J. R., Kardol, P., Sundqvist, M. K., Veen, G. F. and Wardle, D. A. (2015) Plant growth response to direct and indirect temperature effects varies by vegetation type and elevation in a subarctic tundra. Oikos (in press).

Laughlan, D.C., Joshi, C., Richardson, S.J., Peltzer, D. A., Mason, N.W.H. and Wardle, D.A. (2015) Quantifying multimodal trait distributions improves trait-based predictions of species abundances and functional diversity. Journal of Vegetation Science (in press)

Walker, L.R. and Wardle, D.A. (2014) Plant succession as an integrator of contrasting ecological time scales. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29: 504-510.

Asplund, J. and Wardle, D. A. (2014)
Within-species variability is the main driver of community-level responses of traits of epiphytes across a long term chronosequence. Functional Ecology (in press).

Sundqvist, M. K., Liu, Z., Giesler, R. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) Plant and microbial responses to nitrogen and phosphorus addition across an elevational gradient in subarctic tundra. Ecology 95: 1819-1835.

Gundale, M. J. .,Kardol, P., Nilsson, M.-C., Nilsson, U., Lucas, R. W. and Wardle, D.A. (2014)  Interactions with soil biota shift from negative to positive when a tree species is moved outside its native range (Rapid Report)  New Phytologist 202: 417-421.
(commentary here and here).

Wardle, D. A. and Jonsson, M. (2014) Long-term resilience of above- and below-ground ecosystem components among contrasting ecosystems. Ecology 95: 1836-1849

Kardol, P., De Long, J. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) Local plant adaptation across a subarctic elevational gradient. Royal Society Open Science (in press).

Stuiver , B. M., Wardle, D. A., Gundale, M. J. and Nilsson, M.-C. (2014) The impact of moss species and biomass on growth of Pinus sylvestris tree seedlings at different precipitation frequencies. Forests 5: 1931-1951.

Asplund, J., Sandling, A., Kardol, P. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) The influence of tree-scale and ecosystem-scale factors on epiphytic lichen communities along a long-term retrogressive chronosequence. Journal of Vegetation Science 25: 1100-1111

Freschet, G. T., Östlund, L., Kichenin, E. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) Aboveground and belowground legacies of native Sami land-use on boreal forest in northern Sweden 100 years after abandonment. Ecology 95: 963-977

Sundqvist, M. K. Wardle, D.A., Vincent, A. and Giesler, R. (2014) Contrasting nitrogen and phosphorus dynamics across an elevational gradient for subarctic tundra heath and meadow vegetation. Plant and Soil 383: 387-399.

Veen, G. F., Freschet, G., Ordonez, A. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) Litter quality and environmental controls of home-field advantage effects on litter decomposition. Oikos (in press).

Bansal, S., Jochum, T., Wardle, D. A. and Nilsson, M.-C. (2014) The interactive effects of surface-burn severity and canopy cover on conifer and broadleaf tree seedling ecophysiology. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 44: 1032-1041.

Kumordzi, B. B., Nilsson, M.-C., Gundale, M. J. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) Changes in local-scale intraspecific trait variability of dominant species across contrasting island ecosystems. Ecosphere 5: Article 26.

Vincent, A. G., Sundqvist, M.K., Wardle, D. A. and Giesler, R. (2014) Bioavailable soil phosphorus decreases with increasing elevation in a subarctic tundra landscape. PLoS ONE 9: e92942.

Pluchon, N., Gundale, M. J., Nilsson, M.-C., Kardol, P. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) Stimulation of boreal tree seedling growth by wood-derived charcoal: effects of charcoal properties, seedling species and soil fertility. Functional Ecology 26: 766-775.

Jeffery, S., Bezemer, T., Cornelissen, G., Kuyper, T., Lehmann, J., Mommer, L., Sohi, S., van de Voorde, T., Wardle, D. A. and van Groenigen, J. W. (2014) The way forward in biochar research: targeting trade-offs between the potential wins. Global Change Biology – Bioenergy (in press)

Kardol, P., Dickie, I. A., St. John, M. G., Husheer, S. W., Bonner, K. I., Bellingham, P. J. and  Wardle, D. A. (2014) Soil-mediated effects of invasive ungulates on native tree seedlings. Journal of Ecology 102: 622-631.

Wardle, D. A. , Bellingham, P. J., Kardol, P., Giesler, R. and Tanner, E. V. J. (2014). Coordination of aboveground and belowground responses to local-scale soil fertility differences between two contrasting Jamaican rainforest types. Oikos (in press).
(Commentary here).

Bokhorst, S., Wardle, D. A., Nilsson, M.-C. and Gundale, M. J. (2014)  The effect of plant species and functional group removal on soil arthropod communities along a boreal forest chronosequence.  Plant and Soil 379: 121-133.

McLaughlan, K., Higuera, P. E., Gavin, D. G., Perakis, S. S., Mack, M. C., Alexander, H., Battles, J., Biondi, F., Buma, B., Colombaroli, D., Enders, S., Engstrom, D. R., Hu, F. S., Marlon, R. R., Marshall, J., McGlone, M., Nane, L. E., Shuman, B. N., Smithwick, E., Urrego, D., Wardle, D. A., Williams, C. J. and Williams, J. J. (2014) Reconstructing disturbances and their biogeochenical consequences over multiple timescales. BioScience 64: 105-116.

Bokhorst, S. and Wardle, D. A. (2014) Snow fungi as a food source for micro-arthropods. European Journal of Soil Biology 60: 77-80.

Durrett M. S., Wardle, D. A., Mulder, C. P. H. and Barry, R. P. (2014) Seabirds as agents of spatial heterogeneity on New Zealand’s offshore islands. Plant and Soil (in press).

Pietsch, K. A., Ogle, K., Cornelissen, J. H. C., Cornwell, W. K., Bönisch, G., Craine, J. M., Jackson, B. G., Kattge, J., Peltzer, D. A., Penuelas, J., Reich, P. B., Wardle, D. A., Weedon, J. T., Wright, I. J., Zanne, A. E. and Wirth, C. (2014) Global relationship of wood and leaf litter decomposability: the role of functional traits. Global Ecology and Biogeography 23: 1049-1057. 

Meisner, A., Hol, W. H. G., de Boer, W., Krumins, J. A., Wardle, D. A. and van der Putten, W. H. (2014)
Plant-soil feedbacks of exotic plant species across life forms: a meta-analysis. Biological Invasions (in press).  


Sundqvist, M. K., Sanders, N. J. and Wardle, D. A. (2013) Community and ecosystem responses to elevational gradients: processes, mechanisms and insights for global change. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 44: 261-280.

Asplund, J. and Wardle, D. A. (2013) The impact of secondary compounds and functional characteristics on lichen palatability and decomposition. Journal of Ecology 101: 689-700.

Wardle, D. A. (2013) Drivers of decoupling in drylands. Nature 502: 628-629.

Clemmensen, K. E., Bahr, A., Ovaskainen, O., Dahlberg, A., Ekblad, A., Wallander, H., Stenlid, J., Finlay, R. D., Wardle, D. A. and Lindahl, B. (2013) Roots and associated fungi drive long term carbon sequestration in boreal forest. Science 339: 1615-1618.
(commentaries here and here)

Wardle, D. A., Gundale, M. J., Jäderlund, A. and Nilsson, M.-C. (2013) Decoupled long term effects of nutrient enrichment on aboveground and belowground properties in subalpine tundra. Ecology 94: 904-919.

Laliberté, E., Grace, J. B., Huston, M. A., Lambers, H., Teste, F. P., Turner, B. L. and Wardle, D. A. (2013) How does pedogenesis drive plant diversity? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28: 331-340.

Wardle, D. A., Jonsson, M., Bansal, S., Bardgett, R. D., Gundale, M. J. and Metcalfe, D. B. (2012) Linking vegetation change, carbon sequestration and biodiversity: insights from island ecosystems in a long term natural experiment. Journal of Ecology 100: 16-30.
(commentary here)

Gundale, M. J., Hyodo, M., Nilsson, M.-C. & Wardle, D. A. (2012) Nitrogen niches revealed through species and functional group removal in a boreal shrub community. Ecology 93: 1695-1704.
(cover picture here)

Cardinale, B. J., Duffy, J. E., Gonzalez, A., Hooper, D. U., Perrings, C., Venail, P., Narwani, A., Mace, G. M., Tilman, D., Wardle, D. A., Kinzig, A. P., Daily, G. C., Loreau, M., Grace, J. B., Larigauderie, A., Srivastava, D. and Naeem, S. (2012) Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature 486: 59-67.

Wardle, D. A. (2012) On plummeting acceptance rates by the main ecological journals and the progress of ecology. Ideas in Ecology and Evolution 5: 13-15.
(commentary here; corresponding article by L. Aarssen here)

Inderjit; Wardle, D. A.; Karban, R. and Callaway, R. M. (2011) The ecosystem and evolutionary contexts of allelopathy. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26: 655-662.

Wardle, D. A., Bardgett, R. D., Callaway, R. M. and Van der Putten, W. H. (2011) Terrestrial ecosystem responses to species gains and losses. Science 332: 1273-1277.

Estes, J. A., Terborgh, J., Brashares, J. S., Power, M. E., Berger, J., Bond, W. J., Carpenter, S. R., Essington, T., Holt, R. D., Jackson, J. B. C., Marquis, R. J., Oksanen, L., Oksanen, T., Paine, R. T., Pikitch, E. K., Ripple, W. J., Sandin, S., Scheffer, M., Schoener, T. W., Shurin, J. B., Sinclair, A. R. E., Soulé, M. E., Virtanen, R. and Wardle, D. A. (2011). Trophic downgrading of planet Earth. Science 333: 301-306.
(commentaries here)

Wardle, D. A., Hyodo, F., Bardgett, R. D., Yeates, G. W. and Nilsson, M.-C. (2011) Long-term aboveground and belowground consequences of red wood ant exclusion in boreal forest. Ecology 92: 645-656.

Kardol, P. and Wardle, D. A. (2010) How understanding aboveground-belowground linkages can assist restoration ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25: 670-679.

Walker, L. R. Wardle, D. A., Bardgett, R. D. and Clarkson, B. D. (2010) The use of chronosequences in studies of ecological succession and soil development. Journal of Ecology 98: 725-736.

Peltzer, D.A., Wardle, D.A., Allison, V.J., Baisden, W.T., Bardgett, R.D., Chadwick, O.A., Condron, L.M., Parfitt, R.L., Porder, S., Richardson, S.J., Turner, B.L., Vitousek, P.M., Walker, J., and Walker, L.R. (2010) Understanding ecosystem retrogression. Ecological Monographs 80: 509-529.
(commentary here)

Wardle, D. A., Bellingham, P. J., Bonner, K. I. and Mulder, C. P. H. (2009) Indirect effects of invasive predators on plant litter quality, decomposition and nutrient resorption on seabird-dominated islands. Ecology 90: 452-464.

Tylianakis, J. M., Didham, R. K., Bascompte, J. and Wardle, D. A. (2008). Global change and species interactions in terrestrial ecosystems. Ecology Letters 11: 1351-1363
(commentary here).

Wardle, D. A., Nilsson, M.-C. and Zackrisson, O. (2008) Fire-derived charcoal causes loss of forest humus. Science 320: 629-629.
(commentary here)

Lagerström, A., Nilsson, M.-C., Zackrisson, O. and Wardle, D. A. (2007). Ecosystem input of nitrogen through biological fixation in feather mosses during ecosystem retrogression. Functional Ecology 21: 1027-1033.

Wardle, D. A., Bellingham, P. J., Mulder, C. P. H. and Fukami, T. (2007) Promotion of ecosystem carbon sequestration by invasive predators. Biology Letters 3: 479-482.

Wardle, D. A. (2006) The influence of biotic interactions on soil biodiversity. Ecology Letters 9: 870-886.

Fukami, T., Wardle, D. A., Bellingham, P. J., Mulder, C. P. H., Towns, D. R., Yeates, G. W., Bonner, K. I., Durrett, M. S., Grant-Hoffman, M. N and Williamson, W. M. (2006). Above- and below-ground impacts of introduced predators in seabird-dominated island ecosystems. Ecology Letters 9: 1299-1307.
(commentary here)

Wardle, D. A. and Zackrisson, O. (2005) Effects of species and functional group loss on island ecosystem properties. Nature 435: 806-810.

Nilsson, M. C. and Wardle, D. A. (2005) Understory vegetation as a forest ecosystem driver: evidence from the northern Swedish boreal forest. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3: 421-428.

Wardle, D. A., Bardgett, R. D., Klironomos, J. N., Setälä, H., Van der Putten, W. H. and Wall, D. H. (2004) Ecological linkages between aboveground and belowground biota. Science 304: 1629-1633.
(cover picture here)

Wardle, D. A., Walker, L. R. and Bardgett, R. D. (2004) Ecosystem properties and forest decline in contrasting long-term chronosequences. Science 305: 509-513.
(commentary here; cover picture here)

Wardle, D. A., Yeates, G. W., Barker, G. M., Bellingham, P. J., Bonner, K. I. and Williamson, W. (2003) Island biology and ecosystem functioning in epiphytic soil communities. Science 301: 1717-1720.

Wardle, D. A., Hörnberg, G., Zackrisson, O., Kalela-Brundin, M., and Coomes, D. A., (2003) Long term effects of wildfire on ecosystem properties across an island area gradient. Science 300: 972-975.

Ettema, C., and Wardle, D. A. (2002) Spatial soil ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 177-183.

Wardle, D. A., Barker, G. M., Yeates, G. W., Bonner, K. I., and Ghani, A. (2001) Introduced browsing mammals in natural New Zealand forests: aboveground and belowground consequences. Ecological Monographs 71: 587-614.

Wardle, D. A., Bonner, K. I., Barker, G. M., Yeates, G. W., Nicholson, K. S., Bardgett, R. D., Watson, R. N. and Ghani, A. (1999) Plant removals in perennial grassland: vegetation dynamics, decomposers, soil biodiversity and ecosystem properties. Ecological Monographs 69: 535-568.

Wardle, D. A., Zackrisson, O., Hörnberg, G. and Gallet, C. (1997) Influence of island area on ecosystem properties. Science 277: 1296-1299.
(commentary here)

 Contact information:

Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Faculty of Forest Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
S- 901 83 Umeå, Sweden

Fax: +46 90 786 8166
Phone: +46 90 786 8471
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