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Katherine L. Gross PDF Print E-mail
University Distinguished Professor of Plant Biology and KBS Director

Ph. D. Michigan State University, 1980

GrossW. K. Kellogg Biological Station
Michigan State University
Hickory Corners, MI 49060
Phone: (269) 671-2235
Fax: (269) 671-2104
Email: grossk@kbs.msu.edu

All Publications

Research Interests

I am broadly interested in the causes and consequences of species diversity in plant communities. My current research focuses on how nutrient input and management impacts the diversity, productivity and composition of grasslands. We have established several longterm experiments to test hypotheses about how nutrient enrichment (fertilization) impacts grasslands. In one experiment (part of the KBS LTER) we have followed community response to fertilization and disturbance for over 25 years. Another set of experiments in a low-productivity grassland in SW Michigan allows us to evaluate how the scale of soil resource heterogeneity and presence of clonal species influences plant diversity and community composition. We are particularly interested in how species traits, particularly clonality and growth form, affect responses to resource enrichment.

I am also interested in the consequences of diversity in managed agricultural ecosystems. On the KBS LTER project we have been monitoring the long-term effects of different crop management systems on the composition of weed communities in different crops.  We have also established an experiment (the Biodiversity Experiment) in which crop type and rotation are varied to determine the impacts  of rotational diversity on crop yield, weed communities and a variety of ecosystem services. Experiments and field studies established  as part of the Great Lakes BioEnergy Research Center (GLBRC) at KBS are used to test hypotheses relating diversity, productivity and management practices to the sustainability of alternative biofuel crops.

I am no longer advising graduate students, but maintain a research program with postdocs, undergraduates and summer interns. I am delighted to serve on graduate student committees and to support the research of non-MSU students interested in working at KBS.

As Director of KBS I  am promote and support a number of programs to provide undergraduates with research and educational experiences that help define and direct their career interests. For information on these programs, email director@kbs.msu.edu.

Selected Publications

Suding, KN, KL Gross and G Houseman. 2004. Alternative states and positive feedbacks in restoration ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19:46-53.

Gross, K.L., G.G. Mittelbach, and H. Reynolds. 2005. Invasiblity and grassland biodiversity: effects of nutrient addition and cover reduction. Ecology 86: 476-486.

Suding, KN, SL Collins, L Gough, CM Clark, EE Cleland, KL Gross, D Milchunas, and S Penning. 2005. Functional traits predict species loss in response to resource enhancement. PNAS 102: 4387-4392.

Suding, KN and KL Gross. 2006. Modifying native and exotic species correlations: The influence of fire and seed additions Ecological Applications 16: 1391-1324.

Eilts, A., GG Mittelbach, H Reynolds, KL Gross. 2011. Resource heterogeneity, soil fertility and species diversity: Effects of clonal species on plant communities. American Naturalist 177: 574-588

Houseman, GR and KL Gross. 2011. Linking grassland plant diversity to species pools, sorting, and plant traits. J Ecology 99: 464-472.

Gough, L, K.L. Gross, E. Cleland, C. Clark, S. Collins, J. Fargione, S. Pennings, K. Suding. 2012. Incorporating clonal growth form clarifies the role of plant height in response to nitrogen addition. Oecologia 169: 1053-1062

Last Updated on Sunday, 20 January 2013 18:40