Dr. Jeff Dukes' Lab
Jeff Dukes and his research group seek to address environmental challenges through ecological research and outreach. Their research currently focuses on three themes: understanding how ecosystems respond to climate and atmospheric change, understanding and minimizing the impacts of invasive species on ecosystems, and exploring the ecological consequences of switching our energy supply from fossil fuels to biofuels. Dukes has a particular interest in understanding how changes in climate and the atmosphere will affect the success and impact of invasive species.
Dukes directs the Boston-Area Climate Experiment (BACE), which characterizes ecosystem responses to gradients of climate change. Will the processes and properties of communities and ecosystems respond linearly to changes in temperature, or are there important threshold temperatures that could be reached? To what extent does an ecosystem’s response to warming depend on precipitation patterns? The BACE tests these questions in a New England old-field ecosystem. Researchers are measuring responses of several variables, including growth of wildflowers, grasses, and tree seedlings.
Dukes also leads the INTERFACE research coordination network, which brings together experimentalists and modelers from around the world to advance global environmental change research. The network seeks to facilitate the incorporation of realistic biological responses into Earth system models (ESMs), and the design of field experiments and computer simulations that are best suited to improving the performance of ESMs.
Dukes’s past research has shown that some terrestrial ecosystems may slow climate change less than previously assumed, that some biodiversity losses may affect the success and impact of invasive species, that about 100 tons of ancient plant matter were required to produce a gallon of gasoline, and that replacing fossil fuels with modern plant matter would demand more than a quarter of all plant growth on land.
Dukes has appointments in the Departments of Forestry and Natural Resources and Biological Sciences at Purdue, and an adjunct appointment in the Department of Biology at the University of Massachusetts Boston. More information and PDF files of Dukes’s publications are available here. Prospective students should contact Prof. Dukes by email after reading the information available here.
Research Group - Ecology of Natural Systems, Forest Biology
Facilities - Forest Ecology, Soils, and Silviculture Lab, Greenhouses, John S. Wright Center
Related Centers - Center for the Environment, Purdue Climate Change Research Center, Purdue Interdisciplinary Center for Ecological Sustainability
Dukes Lab Sites - The Boston-Area Climate Experiment, Dukes Lab