Bierman Professor and Director
James Elser is Bierman Professor of Ecology of the University of Montana and since March 2016 has been Director of UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station at Yellow Bay. He also holds a part-time research faculty position in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University where he directs the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance. Trained as a limnologist, Dr Elser is best known for his role in developing and testing the theory of ecological stoichiometry, the study of the balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in ecological systems, and, more recently, in advancing progress towards phosphorus sustainability.
Currently, Dr Elser's research focuses most intensively on Flathead Lake as well as other lakes of western Montana. Specific studies involve observational and experimental studies at various scales, including laboratory cultures, short-term field experiments and regional scale comparative studies. Previous field sites have included the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario, Canada; lakes of the Arctic and of Patagonia; lakes, forests, and grasslands of the upper Midwest; and desert springs in Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert.
Dr Elser has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) as well as a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012 Elser received the G.E. Hutchinson Award of the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), the world's largest scientific association dedicated to aquatic sciences. He has also served as ASLO's President (2014-2016)
In 2019 Dr Elser was elected to the US National Academy of Sciences in recognition of his research accomplishments.
Some recent publications (Google scholar linK https://tinyurl.com/mr2djsuc):
Vanderwall, J.W., C.C. Muhlfeld, T.H. Tappenbeck, J. Giersch, Z. Ren, and J.J. Elser. 2023. Mountain glaciers influence biogeochemical and ecological characteristics of high-elevation lakes across the northern Rocky Mountains, USA. Limnol. Oceanogr: in press. doi.org/10.1002/lno.12434
Isanta-Navarro, J., C. Prater, L.M. Peoples, I. Loladze, T. Phan, P.D. Jeyasingh, M.J. Church, Y. Kuang, and J.J. Elser. 2022. Revisiting the Growth Rate Hypothesis: towards a holistic stoichiometric understanding of growth. Ecology Letters 25: 2324-2339.
Elser, J.J., S.P. Devlin, J. Yu, A. Baumann, M.J. Church, J.E. Dore, R.O. Hall, Jr., M. Hollar, T. Johnson, T. Vick-Majors, and C. White. 2022. Sustained stoichiometric imbalance and its ecological consequences in a large oligotrophic lake. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 119 (30): e2202268119
Wainright, C.A., C.C. Muhlfeld, J.J. Elser, S.L. Bourret, and S.P. Devlin. 2021. Species invasion progressively disrupts the trophic structure of native food webs. Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA 118 (45): e2102179118. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2102179118
Elser, J.J., and P.M. Haygarth. 2020. Phosphorus: Past and Future. Oxford University Press.
Ren, Z., D. Niu, M. Panpan, Y. Wang, H. Fu, and J.J. Elser. 2019. Cascading influences of grassland degradation on nutrient limitation in a high mountain lake and its inflow streams. Ecology 100: e02755.
Six, D.L., and J.J. Elser. 2019. Extreme ecological stoichiometry in a bark beetle-fungus mutualism. Ecol. Entomol. 44: 543-551.
Branco, P., M. Egas, J.J. Elser, and J. Huisman. 2018. Eco-evolutionary dynamics of ecological stoichiometry in plankton communities. Am. Nat. 192: E1-E20.
Zhang, J., and J.J. Elser. 2017. Carbon: nitrogen: phosphorus stoichiometry in fungi: A meta-analysis. Frontiers Microbiol. 8: 1281.