University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
College of Biological Sciences

Professor Sarah E. Hobbie

Ph.D., University of California - Berkeley, 1995
Phone: 612-625-6269 Fax: 612-624-6777

Graduate Faculty Memberships

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; Natural Resources Science & Mgmt; Conservation Biology


Research Interests

Ecosystem ecology, carbon and nutrient cycling, decomposition, species effects on ecosystem processes, plant-soil interactions


I am broadly interested in all areas of ecosystem ecology, and especially in the interface between plant community and ecosystem ecology. In particular, I am interested in how plant species effects on ecosystem processes compare in magnitude to other factors that influence these processes. A related interest is whether we need to know how plant community composition will change to predict the response of ecosystem processes to human-caused global change.

Because one of the primary ways that plant species influence ecosystem processes is through their differential effects on litter decomposition and nutrient cycling, I have become interested in basic questions regarding the regulation of decomposition of plant litter. For example, I am interested in whether the same nutrients that limit plant growth also limit rates of decomposition, and when and where decomposition is carbon- versus nutrient-limited.

I hope that through my research I can both increase our basic understanding of how ecosystems function, but also improve our ability to predict how global changes caused by human activity (for example, climate change and nitrogen deposition) will alter ecosystems.


Selected Publications

Fissore, C., S. E. Hobbie, J. Y. King, J. P. McFadden, K. C. Nelson, L. A. Baker. 2012. The residential landscape: fluxes of elements and the role of household decisions. Urban Ecosystems 15:1-18.

Hobbie, S. E., W. C. Eddy, C. R. Buyarski, E. C. Adair, M. L. Ogdahl, and P. Weisenhorn. 2012. Response of decomposing litter and its microbial community to multiple forms of nitrogen enrichment. Ecological Monographs 82:389-405.

Knapp, S., L. Dinsmore, C. Fissore, S. Hobbie, I. Jakobsdottir, J. Kattge, J. King, S. Klotz, D. C. Laughlin, J.P. McFadden, and J. Cavender-Bares. 2012. Phylogenetic and functional characteristics of household yard floras and their changes along an urbanization gradient. Ecology 93:S83-S98.

Knapp, A. K., M. D. Smith, S. E. Hobbie, S. L. Collins, T. J. Fahey, G. J. A. Hansen, D. A. Landis, K. J. La Pierre, J. M. Melillo, T. R. Seastedt, G. R. Shaver, J. R. Webster. 2012. Past, present and future roles of long-term experiments in ecology. BioScience 62:377-389.

Reich, P. B., D. Tilman, F. Isbell, K. Mueller, S. E. Hobbie, D. F. B. Flynn, and N. Eisenhauer. 2012. Impacts of biodiversity loss escalate through time as redundancy fades. Science 336:589-592.

Reich, P. B., and S. E. Hobbie. 2012. Decade-long soil nitrogen constraint on the CO2 fertilization of plant biomass. Nature Climate Change doi:10.1038/nclimate1694.

Whitthinghill, K. and S. E. Hobbie. In press. Effects of pH and calcium on soil organic matter dynamics in Alaskan tundra. Biogeochemistry.

Whittinghill, K. and S. E. Hobbie. 2011. Effects of landscape age on soil organic matter processing in Northern Alaska. Soil Science Society of America Journal 75:907-917.

Whitthinghill, K. and S. E. Hobbie. 2011. Effects of pH and calcium on soil organic matter dynamics in Alaskan tundra. Biogeochemistry 10.1007/s10533-011-9688-6.

Cornwell, W. K., J. H. C. Cornelissen, K. Amatangelo, E. Dorrepaal, V. T. Eviner, O. Godoy, S. E. Hobbie, B. Hoorens, H. Kurokawa, N. Perez-Harquindeguy, H. M. Quested, L. S. Santiago, D. A. Wardle, I J. Wright, R. Aerts, S. D. Allison, P. van Bodegom, V. Brovkin, A. Chatain, T. Callaghan, S. Diaz, E. Garnier, D. Gurvich, E. Kazakou, J. Klein, J. Read, P. Reich, V. Soudzilovskaia, M. Vaieretti, M. Westoby. 2008. Plant traits are the predominant control on litter decomposition rates within biomes worldwide. Ecology Letters 11:1065-1071

Hobbie, S. E. 2008. Nitrogen effects on litter decomposition: a five-year experiment in eight temperate grassland and forest sites. Ecology 89:2633-2644

Baker, L. A., P. M. Hartzheim, S. E. Hobbie, J. Y. King, K. C. Nelson. 2007. Effect of consumption choices on fluxes of carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus through households. Urban Ecosystems 10:97-117

Hobbie, S. E., M. Ogdahl, J. Chorover, O. A. Chadwick, J. Oleksyn, R. Zytkowiak, and P. B. Reich. 2007. Tree species effects on soil organic matter dynamics: the role of soil cation composition. Ecosystems 10:999-1018

Hobbie, S. E., P. B. Reich, J. Oleksyn, M. Ogdahl, R. Zytkowiak, C. Hale, and P. Karolewski. 2006. Tree species effects on decomposition and forest floor dynamics in a common garden. Ecology 87:2288-2297

Reich, P. B., S. E. Hobbie, T. Lee, D. S. Ellsworth, J. B. West, D. Tilman, J. M. H. Knops, S. Naeem, J. Trost. 2006. Nitrogen limitation constrains sustainability of ecosystem response to CO2. Nature 440:923-925


Additional Links

Research Web Site

IGERT Training Grant