Dr. Richard Phillips

Indiana University

Monday, March 25, 2024 - 3:30pm

Paige Lab Room 202 or Zoom

Speaker Name and Affiliation

Dr. Richard Phillips

Indiana University

Bio: Dr. Phillips was born in Boston and spent much of youth traversing and exploring the forests of New England. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a BA in Environmental Studies, completed his M.S. at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and his Ph.D. at Cornell University. Dr. Phillips did a postdoc at Duke University, where he worked on the Duke Forest FACE experiment. In 2008, Dr. Phillips was hired by the Department of Biology at Indiana University in Bloomington. He’s currently a full professor at IU, where he serves as the science director of the Research and Teaching Preserve and the director of the Evolution, Ecology and Behavior graduate program and the chair of the Integrated Program in the Environment.

Seminar Title: Seeing The Forest Beneath The Trees: Mycorrhizal Fungi As Trait Integrators Of Ecosystem Processes

Seminar Abstract: Global environmental change is shifting the distribution and abundances of species globally, though the ecosystem consequences of such changes are poorly understood. Here, I present a framework that seeks to unify the heterogeneity of plant-microbe-soil interactions in forests, as a means for predicting the impacts of community change. The Mycorrhizal-Associated Nutrient Economy (MANE) hypothesis predicts that species that associate with different types of mycorrhizal fungi possess an integrated suite of nutrient-use traits that lead to the maintenance of biogeochemical syndromes in forests.

To test MANE, we combine observations, experiments, syntheses and modeling in forest stands across the US, and examine the effects of trait variation and community composition on ecosystem processes. We have found support for MANE in many (but not all) temperate forests in the United States. Moreover, we find that MANE dynamics can be detected by remote sensing and incorporated into large-scale models, facilitating the MANE framework as a tool for predicting forest response to global change. Collectively, our results suggest that shifts in the relative abundance of AM and ECM trees will likely have profound implications for how forests function and the services that they provide.


The Stockbridge Seminar Series is weekly, and features academic speakers on topics related to plant and soil sciences in agriculture. 

All Stockbridge Seminar Series events are on Mondays from 3:30pm-4:30pm, are free, and are open to members of the Stockbridge community. 

All events will be in person in Paige Lab Room 202, and will also be live-streamed at


Meeting ID: 971 0293 9495

Passcode: Seminar

Interested members of the public are welcome to join us via Zoom.


Raydaliz Cancel Vazquez