Researcher Spotlights

Eric Seabloom

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Eric Seabloom is a Professor in the Dept. of Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior at the University of Minnesota. He conducts research at Hopland REC.

What led you to become an ecologist?

There is no easy answer here, but I really never pictured myself as a researcher in ecology. I started getting excited about plants through my interest in agriculture, especially organic farming and gardening. This led me to be more interested in natural plant communities and conservation, and I worked for a variety of state agencies in Washington State. Once I started a Ph.D. graduate program, I really got excited about pursuing a full-time research career. I still love gardening and being out in the field as a botanist. 

What brought your work to Hopland REC?

We started using the REC and UC Natural reserve systems about 20 years ago to increase the generality of our research. Most experiments in ecology are replicated at single sites, so it is unclear whether the results apply to other locations. The staff at HREC and SREC were so helpful they made it possible to conduct these types of regionally and now globally replicated experiments. 

What do you hope to learn from your research at Hopland REC?

Humans are increasing the supply of limiting nutrients (like nitrogen and phosphorus) in ecosystems worldwide. Concurrently, we are changing the identity and abundance of large grazers. We are experimentally testing how these global-scale changes are altering native diversity, species invasions, disease, and important ecosystem processes like carbon sequestration in soils. 

What is your favorite part about conducting your research at Hopland REC?

The plant community at Hopland is one of the most diverse of any of our sites, and I really love being there each year. Sadly, COVID has kept us away for two years, but I am excited to be back this spring!

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