Katharine Suding

Katharine Suding

Distinguished Professor

  • Fellow in Absentia



  • PhD: University of Michigan, 1999
  • BS: Williams College, 1994

Contact Information

(Office) 303 735-3193


Plant community ecology; restoration, invasion biology, environmental change, and conservation.


I am a plant community ecologist working at the interface of ecosystem, landscape and population biology. My goal is to apply cutting-edge “usable” science to the challenges of restoration, species invasion, and environmental change. My research group and I work with a range of conservation groups, government agencies and land managers to provide evidence-based solutions that take into account biodiversity, human well-being, and management opportunities. We employ a combination of long-term monitoring, modeling and experimental approaches in settings that range from alpine tundra to oak woodlands to grasslands. Common themes include plant-soil feedbacks, functional traits, species effects on ecosystem processes, and non-linear and threshold dynamics.

Visit the Suding Lab web site.


  • Highly Cited Researcher (2016-2019), Web of Science Group, 2019
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2018
  • MacArthur Award, Ecological Society of America, 2018
  • BFA Award for Excellence in Research, Scholarly and Creative Work, Boulder Faculty Assembly, 2018
  • Fellow, Ecological Society of America, 2016


Research Statement

Visit the Suding Lab web site. We are plant community ecologists working at the interface of ecosystem, landscape and population biology. Our goal is to apply cutting-edge science to the challenges of restoration, invasion, and environmental change.



Courtney CollinsSarah Elmendorf, Hollister, R. D., Henry, G. H. R., Clark, K., Bjorkman, A. D., Myers-Smith, I. H., Prevéy, J. S., Ashton, I. W., Assmann, J. J., Alatalo, J. M., Carbognani, M., Chisholm, C., Cooper, E. J., Chiara Forrester, Jónsdóttir, I. S., Klanderud, K., Kopp, C. W., Livensperger, C., Mauritz, M., May, J. L., Molau, U., Oberbauer, S. F., Ogburn, E., Panchen, Z. A., Petraglia, A., Post, E., Rixen, C., Rodenhizer, H., Schuur, E. A. G., Semenchuk, P., Jane G. Smith, Steltzer, H., Totland, Ø., Walker, M. D., Welker, J. M., Katharine Suding 2021: Experimental warming differentially affects vegetative and reproductive phenology of tundra plants. Nature Communications, 12: 3442. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-23841-2

Prevéy, J. S., Sarah Elmendorf, Bjorkman, A., Alatalo, J. M., Ashton, I., Assmann, J. J., Björk, R. G., Björkman, M. P., Cannone, N., Carbognani, M., Chisholm, C., Clark, K., Courtney Collins, Cooper, E. J., Elberling, B., Frei, E. R., Henry, G. R. H., Hollister, R. D., Høye, T. T., Jónsdóttir, I. S., Kerby, J. T., Klanderud, K., Kopp, C., Levesque, E., Mauritz, M., Molau, U., Myers-Smith, I. H., Natali, S. M., Oberbauer, S. F., Panchen, Z., Petraglia, A., Post, E., Rixen, C., Rodenhizer, H., Rumpf, S. B., Schmidt, N. M., Schuur, T., Semenchuk, P., Smith, J. G., Katharine Suding, Totland, Ø., Troxler, T., Wahren, H., Welker, J. M., Wipf, S., Yang, Y. 2021: The tundra phenology database: More than two decades of tundra phenology responses to climate change. Arctic Science, early online view. DOI: 10.1139/as-2020-0041

Yang, Y., Klein, J. A., Winkler, D. E., Peng, A. H., Lazarus, B. E., Germino, M. J., Katharine SudingJane G. Smith, Kueppers, L. M. 2020: Warming of alpine tundra enhances belowground production and shifts community towards resource acquisition traits. Ecosphere, 11(10): e03270. DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.3270

All publications by Katharine Suding >



Current Courses

  • EBIO 6100: Graduate Seminar in Critical Transitions & Resilience It is increasingly clear that ecological systems, like many other complex systems, have critical thresholds at which they shift abruptly from one state to another--non-linear transitions that are abrupt and hard to reverse. We will explore the application of complexity theory to such issues as desertification in rangelands, dieback in coral reefs, and turbidly in lakes.