Phil Robertson is University Distinguished Professor of Ecosystem Science in the Department of Plant, Soil, and Microbial Sciences at MSU, with which he has been associated since 1981. Since 1988 he has directed the NSF Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) Program in Agricultural Ecology at the W.K. Kellogg Biological Station, where he is a resident faculty. He is also program leader for sustainability research in the Department of Energy’s Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center.
Dr. Robertson’s research interests include the biogeochemistry and ecology of field crop and cellulosic biofuel ecosystems and in particular nitrogen and carbon dynamics, greenhouse gas fluxes, and the functional significance of microbial diversity in these systems. His undergraduate and graduate teaching includes Agricultural Ecology, Biogeochemistry, and Soil Biology courses.
Dr. Robertson has been a SCOPE-Mellon postdoctoral fellow at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (1980-1981) and a sabbatical scholar at Cooperative Research Centres in Adelaide (1993-1994) and Brisbane (2001-2002), Australia. His service also includes current membership on the Dept. of Energy’s Biological and Environmental Research Advisory Committee (BERAC), past membership on the U.S. Carbon Cycle Scientific Steering Committee, chairmanships of competitive grants panels at the USDA (the NRI and Fund for Rural America Programs), and membership on several NSF panels in the Biological and Geosciences directorates. He served as chair of the U.S. LTER Network from 2008-2011, and is a lead chapter author for the U.S. National Climate Assessment. He served on the National Research Council Committee to Evaluate the USDA NRI Program (1998-1999), and chaired the Environment Subcommittee of the NRC Committee on Opportunities in Agriculture (2000-2002). He has testified before the U.S. Senate Agriculture, Forestry, and Nutrition Committee and participated in briefings for the U.S. House and Senate Science and Technology and Agriculture Committees. He has also served as an editor for the journals Ecology, Ecological Monographs, Plant and Soil, Biogeochemistry, and PNAS. In 2003 he was elected a Fellow in the Soil Science Society of America. In 2005 he received MSU’s Distinguished Faculty award. Dr. Robertson received his BA from Hampshire College and his PhD in Biology from Indiana University.