John Blair, University Distinguished Professor


Edwin G. Brychta Professor of Biology
Director, Konza Prairie Biological Station

Contact information

201 Bushnell Hall


Ph.D. 1987, University of Georgia, Entomology (ecology emphasis).

Area(s) of Specialization

Ecosystem ecology and terrestrial biogeochemistry; Grasslands and global change; Soil ecology, including decomposition, soil nutrient cycling, litter/soil/plant nutrient dynamics; Effects of climate change and other disturbances on ecosystem processes; Restoration ecology; Ecology of soil invertebrates.

Research Focus

I am a terrestrial ecosystem ecologist with broad interests in grasslands. I am the Director of the Konza Prairie Biological Station and an investigator on the National Science Foundation-funded Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at Konza Prairie. The Konza Prairie LTER program supports short- and long-term research aimed at understanding the biological and physical factors that affect populations, communities and ecosystem processes in grasslands. Because human activities are altering the key drivers of ecological processes in grasslands directly -- by managing fire and grazers -- and indirectly -- by changing atmospheric chemistry and climate – our research also focuses on issues related to grassland management and responses to global change. My students and I conduct research on the ecological consequences of a broad range of global changes, including climate change, land-use/land-cover change and elevated nutrient deposition, with an emphasis on how these changes affect ecosystem processes, such as plant productivity, soil organic matter dynamics and nutrient cycling in native and restored grasslands.

Selected Publications

Broderick, C.A., K. Wilkins, M.D. Smith, and J.M. Blair. 2022. Climate legacies determine grassland responses to future rainfall regimes. Global Change Biology 28:2639-2656.

Collins, S.L., J.B. Nippert, J.M. Blair, J.M. Briggs, P. Blackmore, and Z. Ratajczak. 2021. Fire frequency, state change and hysteresis in tallgrass prairie. Ecology Letters 24:636-647. doi: 10.1111/ele.13676.

Slette, I.J., J.M. Blair, P.A. Fay, M.D. Smith, and A.K. Knapp. 2021. Effects of compounded precipitation pattern intensification and drought occur belowground in a mesic grassland. Ecosystems doi: 10.1007/s10021-021-00714-9.

Connell RK, Nippert JB, Blair JM. 2020. Three decades of divergent land use and plant community change alters soil C and N content in tallgrass prairie. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences doi:10.1029/2020JG005723.

Baer SG, Adams T, Scott DA, Blair JM, Collins SL. 2020. Soil heterogeneity increases plant diversity after twenty years of manipulation during grassland restoration. Ecological Applications 30:e02014.

Rosenzweig ST, Carson MA, Baer SG, Blair JM. 2016. Changes in soil properties, microbial biomass, and fluxes of C and N in soil following post-agricultural grassland restoration. Applied Soil Ecology 100:186-194.

Wilcox KR, Blair JM, Smith MD, Knapp AK. 2016. Does ecosystem sensitivity to precipitation at the site-level conform to regional-scale predictions? Ecology 97:561-568.

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