Phoebe Zarnetske, Assistant Professor, Community and Spatial Ecology

Phoebe Zarnetske


213 Natural Resources Building

Phone: (517) 355-7671

Research website


Ph.D. in Zoology, minors: Ecosystem Informatics and Statistics, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR, 2011
M.S. in Ecology, Utah State University, Logan, UT, 2006
B.S. in Biology, Environmental Science concentration, Colby College, Waterville, ME, 2001


Research Interests:

I am a community ecologist interested in how the composition and distribution of ecological communities are affected by species invasions, biotic interactions (e.g., competition, predation), biophysical feedbacks, and climate change. My research program uses a combination of observational data, experiments, and modeling to connect observed patterns of species distributions and community composition with underlying mechanisms. Understanding these mechanisms is necessary if we are to make robust predictions about how ecosystems and their communities will respond to change.

I am particularly interested in the importance of biotic interactions within ecological communities, and how this combines with climatic change and invasions to alter species composition and geographic distribution. With this in mind, I use experiments, extant datasets, and natural history to incorporate biotic interactions into models that predict the effects of climate change and invasions on species and their communities. I use a variety of approaches including: species distribution models (SDMs), population simulations, and time-series approaches. My work spans different ecosystems including coastal dunes, forests, rivers, and lakes.

As my research intersects ecology and the physical sciences, much of my work is interdisciplinary and collaborative. These collaborations advance scientific understanding in new ways that help inform conservation, management, and adaptation in an era of rapid global change.


Selected Publications:

Blois, J. L., P. L. Zarnetske, M. C. Fitzpatrick, and S. Finnegan. 2013. Climate Change and the Past, Present, and Future of Biotic Interactions. Science 341:499–504. doi: 10.1126/science.1237184.

Urban, M. C., P. L. Zarnetske, and D. K. Skelly. 2013. Moving forward: dispersal and species interactions determine biotic responses to climate change. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences: online early. doi: 10.1111/nyas.12184.

Zarnetske, P. L., T. C. Gouhier, S. D. Hacker, E. W. Seabloom, and V. A. Bokil. 2013. Indirect effects and facilitation among native and non-native species promote invasion success along an environmental stress gradient. Journal of Ecology: 101:905-915 doi: 10.1111/1365-2745.12093.

Seabloom, E. W., P. Ruggiero, S. D. Hacker, J. Mull, and P. L. Zarnetske. 2013. Invasive grasses, climate change, and exposure to storm-wave overtopping in coastal dune ecosystems. Global Change Biology 19:824–832. doi: 10.1111/gcb.12078.

Zarnetske, P. L., D. K. Skelly, and M. C. Urban. 2012a. Biotic Multipliers of Climate Change. Science 336:1516–1518. doi: 10.1126/science.1222732.

Zarnetske, P. L., S. D. Hacker, E. W. Seabloom, P. Ruggiero, J. R. Killian, T. B. Maddux, and D. Cox. 2012b. Biophysical feedback mediates effects of invasive grasses on coastal dune shape. 93:1439–1450 Ecology. doi: 10.1890/11-1112.1.

Hacker, S.D., P.L. Zarnetske, E.W. Seabloom, P. Ruggiero, J. Mull, S. Gerrity, and C. Jones.  2012. Subtle differences in two non-native congeneric beach grasses significantly affect their colonization, spread, and impact. Oikos 121:138-148. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0706.2011.18887.x     

Zarnetske, P.L., E.W. Seabloom, and S.D. Hacker.  2010. Non-target effects of invasive species management: beachgrass, birds, and bulldozers in coastal dunes. Ecosphere 1(5):art13.

Zarnetske, P.L., T.C. Edwards, Jr., and G.G. Moisen. 2007. Habitat classification modeling with incomplete data: pushing the habitat envelopeEcological Applications 17:1714–1726. doi: 10.1890/06-1312.1