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Roger Ruess

Tanana River
Credit: 
Roger Ruess
Research Interests: 

My research focuses broadly on controls over carbon and nitrogen cycling in boreal forests.  This has included studies on organic N cycling in soils, successional patterns of fine root production and decomposition dynamics, and the role of vertebrate herbivores in ecosystem function and landscape evolution.  I am also involved with groups exploring genomic approaches to bacterial and fungal community structure and function in boreal soils.  A current interest is the physiological ecology of alder-Frankia-mycorrhizal interactions, and the associated role of alder in boreal forest nutrient cycling dynamics.

Roger Ruess on the bank of the Tanana River
Credit: 
Roger Ruess
Roger W. Ruess
Professor of Biology
Associate Director of IAB - Ecology and Wildlife
Office: 
414 Irving I Bldg.
907-474-7153
Lab: 
407 Irving I Bldg.
Postal Address: 
Institute of Arctic Biology
PO Box 757000
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
  • B.S. 1974 University of California Irvine, Biological Sciences
  • Ph.D. 1980 University of North Dakota, Biology
  • Professor of Biology, University of Alaska, 6/2001-present
  • Associate Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Alaska, 6/1994-present
  • Assistant Professor of Plant Ecology, University of Alaska, 9/1989-6/1994
  • Lecturer, Syracuse University, 1988
  • Research Assistant Professor, Syracuse University, 1/1987-8/1989
  • National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, 1/1985-1/1987
  • Post-doctoral Research Assistant, Syracuse University, 8/1980-12/1984
  • Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant, University of North Dakota, 1974-1980

2017

Olnes, J. et al., 2017. Can snowshoe hares control treeline expansion?. Ecology, 98, pp.2499-2505.

2016

2015

Brown, D.R.N. et al., 2015. Interactions of fire and climate exacerbate permafrost degradation in Alaskan lowland forests. Journal of Geographical Research Biogeosciences, 120, pp.1619-1637.
Christie, K.S. et al., 2015. The role of vertebrate herbivores in regulating shrub expansion in the Arctic: A synthesis. BioScience, 65, pp.1134-1140.
Christie, K.S. & Ruess, R.W., 2015. Experimental evidence that ptarmigan regulate willow bud production to their own advantage. Oecologia, 178, pp.773-781.

2014

Pages

2014 Emil Usibelli Distinguished Research Award

  • Cross-scale controls over responses of the Alaskan boreal forest to changing disturbance regimes. National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: PI; 2017-2023 (Bonanza Creek LTER webpage).
  • Collaborative Research: Shrub impacts on N inputs and turnover in the Arctic, and their potential to feedback to vegetation and climate change. Responsibilities: Co-PI; 2016-2019.
  • Comparison of putative Carex subspathacea between Arctic Coastal Plain and Yukon Kuskokwim Delta and interpretations of climate effects on grazing systems. USGS; Responsibilities: PI; 2015-2018.
  • Utilizing forest inventory permanent plots for boreal forest disease detection and quantification of trembling aspen canker and Siberian alder canker. USFS-State and Private Forestry; Responsibilities: PI; 2016-2019.
  • Ecosystem-level consequences of mutualist partner choice in alder across a forest successional sequence in interior Alaska. National Science Foundation; Responsibilities: PI; 2007-2010.
  • Ecosystem Processes (BIOL 672, graduate).
  • Plant Physiological Ecology (BIOL 675, graduate).
  • Structure and Function of Vascular Plants (BIOL 334, undergraduate).
  • Grazing Ecology (BIOL 614, graduate).
Current Graduate Students (More info)
  • Robin Andrews
  • Iris Cato
  • Jackson Drew
  • Brian Houseman
  • Elizabeth Nicklen
Past Graduate Students
  • Mike Anderson. Ph.D. 2011. Sources of variation in the symbiotic association between Alnus and Frankia in interior Alaska.
  • Kendra Calhoun. M.S. 2010. Ectomycorrhizal diversity of white spruce (Picea glauca) at treeline along a latitudinal gradient in Alaska
  • Katie Christie. Ph.D. 2014. Trophic dynamics in a changing arctic: Interactions between ptarmigan and willows in northern Alaska
  • Kate Doran. Ph.D. 2000. Photosynthetic acclimation of white spruce (Picea glauca) to canopy microhabitats.
  • Claudia Ihl. Ph.D. 2007. (co-chair). Foraging ecology and sociality of muskoxen in northwestern Alaska.
  • Beth Lenart. M.S. 1996. (co-chair). Climate and caribou: effects of summer weather on the Chisana caribou herd.
  • Patricia Loomis. M.S. 2005. Nitrogen cycling at treeline: latitudinal and elevational patterns across the boreal landscape.
  • Sarah Ludwig. M.S. 2016. Fire severity effects on nutrient dynamics and microbial activities in a Siberian larch forest.
  • Jack McFarland. Ph.D. 2008. Latitudinal patterns of amino acid cycling and plant N uptake among North American ecosystems.
  • Jennifer Mitchell. M.S. 2006. Patterns of and controls over nitrogen inputs by green alder (Alnus viridis ssp fruticosa) to a successional chronosequence in interior Alaska.
  • Christa Mulder. Ph.D. 1996. Plant-herbivore dynamics on the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta: The effect of goose herbivory on arrowgrass.
  • Dana Nossov. M.S. 2008. Community, population, and growth dynamics of Alnus tenuifolia: implications for nutrient cycling on an interior Alaskan floodplain
  • Brian Person. Ph.D. 2001. Herbivore-mediated effects on ecosystem processes in a near-arctic salt marsh.
  • Michaela Swanson. M.S. 2016. Relationships between succession and community structure and function of Alnus-associated ectomycorrhizal fungi in Alaskan boreal forests.
  • Ken Tape. Ph.D. 2011. Arctic Alaskan shrub growth, distribution, and relationships to landscape processes and climate during the 20th century.
  • Daniel Uliassi. M.S. 1998. The regulation of symbiotic nitrogen fixation by thinleaf alder in primary successional forests of the Tanana River floodplain.
  • Amy Zacheis. Ph.D. 2000. Effects of migratory geese on plant communities and nitrogen dynamics in an Alaskan salt marsh.
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