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Division of Biology

Division of Biology
Kansas State University
116 Ackert Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506
785-532-6653 fax

John Blair, University Distinguished Professor


Edwin G. Brychta Professor of Biology
Associate Director for Faculty Development
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 co-lead the National Science Foundation-funded Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at K-State's Konza Prairie Biological Station. 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. Some of my other current research projects focus on grassland restoration ecology and unraveling rhizosphere processes that affect soil carbon and nitrogen cycling.

Selected Publications

Scott DA, Baer SG, Blair JM. 2017. Recovery and relative influence of root, microbial, and structural properties of soil on physically sequestered carbon stocks in restored grassland. Soil Science Society of America Journal 81:50-60.

Baer SG., Blair JM, Collins SL. 2016. Environmental heterogeneity has a weak effect on diversity during community reassembly in tallgrass prairie. Ecological Monographs 86:94-106.

Rosenzweig, S.T, M.A. Carson, S.G. Baer and J.M. Blair. 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.

Wilcox KR, Blair JM, Knapp AK. 2016. Stability of grassland soil C and N pools despite 25 years of an extreme climatic and disturbance regime. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 121:1934–1945.

Ratajczak Z, Nippert JB, Briggs JM, Blair JM. 2014. Fire dynamics distinguish grasslands, shrublands and woodlands as alternative attractors in the Central Great Plains of North America. Journal of Ecology 102:1374-1385.

Reisinger AJ, Blair JM, Rice CW, Dodds WK. 2013. Woody vegetation removal stimulates riparian and benthic denitrification in tallgrass prairie. Ecosystems 16:547-560.

Baer SG, JM Blair, JM. 2008. Grassland establishment under varying resource availability: A test of positive and negative feedback. Ecology 89:1859-1871.

View the complete publication list