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, jointly appointed in the Departments of Forestry and Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. I also hold an adjunct appointment in the Department of Plant Biology and am affiliated with the Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEBB) Program and Environmental Science and Policy Program. I am interested in how the composition and geographic distribution of ecological communities are affected by species invasions, biotic interactions, 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.

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: 

Belmaker, J., P.L. Zarnetske, Tuanmu, M., Zonneveld, S., Record, S., Strecker, A., and L. Beaudrot. 2015. Empirical evidence for the scale-dependence of biotic interactions. Global Ecology and Biogeography. 24: 750-761. DOI: 10.1111/geb.12311

Zarnetske, P.L., P. Ruggiero, E.W. Seabloom, and S.D. Hacker. 2015. Coastal foredune evolution: the relative influence of vegetation and sand supply in the U.S. Pacific Northwest. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2015.0017

Blois, J. L., P. L. Zarnetske, M. C. Fitzpatrick, and S. Finnegan. 2013. Climate Change and the Past, Present, and Future of Biotic InteractionsScience 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 changeAnnals 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 gradientJournal 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 ecosystemsGlobal 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 ChangeScience 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.

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 envelope.  Ecological Applications 17:1714–1726. doi: 10.1890/06-1312.1