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G. Philip Robertson Ph.D.

G. Philip Robertson

robert30@msu.edu
Telephone: 269-760-8364

University Distinguished Professor

Agricultural ecology, biogeochemistry, and climate change


Location:

W. K. Kellogg Biological Station
Hickory Corners, MI 49060

Education:  

B.A., Hampshire College
PhD, Indiana University, Biology

General areas of expertise:

Biogeochemistry of field crop ecosystems and landscapes, in particular carbon and nitrogen cycling, greenhouse gas fluxes, and plant-microbe responses to climate change.

Overview of current program:


We study the sustainability of field crop ecosystems with a focus on ecosystem services related to their productivity and biogeochemistry. We study food crops (primarily corn, soybean, and wheat) as well as cellulosic biofuel crops (including switchgrass, miscanthus, and restored prairie), and consider both conventional and alternative management strategies, including reduced input and organic. We are particularly interested in questions of nitrogen availability  and loss, soil carbon dynamics, and fluxes of the greenhouse gases CO2, nitrous oxide, and methane.  Our studies range in scale from the microbial to landscapes and regions. We ask fundamental questions of topical importance: our research informs the design of resource-efficient high-yielding cropping systems, strategies to reduce nitrogen pollution from agricultural landscapes, and national greenhouse gas mitigation policies.

Recent Publications: (Full list of publications)

Gustafson, D., M. Hayes, E. Janssen, D. B. Lobell, S. Long, G. C. Nelson, H. B. Pakrasi, P. Raven, G. P. Robertson, R. Robertson, and D. Wuebbles. 2016. Pharaoh's dream revisited: An integrated US Midwest field research network for climate adaptation. Bioscience 66:80-85.

Sanford, G. R., L. G. Oates, P. Jasrotia, K. D. Thelen, G. P. Robertson, and R. D. Jackson. 2016. Comparative productivity of alternative cellulosic bioenergy cropping systems in the North Central USA. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 216:344-355.

Abraha, M., J. Chen, H. Chu, T. Zenone, R. John, Y.-J. Su, S. K. Hamilton, and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Evapotranspiration of annual and perennial biofuel crops in a variable climate. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 7:1344-1356.

Basso, B., D. W. Hyndman, A. D. Kendall, P. R. Grace, and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Can impacts of climate change and agricultural adaptation strategies be accurately quantified if crop models are annually re-initialized? PLoS ONE 10:e0127333.

Gelfand, I., M. Cui, J. Tang, and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Short-term drought response of N2O and CO2 emissions from mesic agricultural soils in the US Midwest. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 212:127-133.

Gelfand, I. and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions in agricultural ecosystems. Pages 310-339 in S. K. Hamilton, J. E. Doll, and G. P. Robertson, editors. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long-Term Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Gelfand, I. and G. P. Robertson. 2015. A reassessment of the contribution of soybean biological nitrogen fixation to reactive N in the environment. Biogeochemistry 123:175-184.

Hamilton, S. K., J. E. Doll, and G. P. Robertson, editors. 2015. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long-Term Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Hamilton, S. K., M. Z. Hussain, A. K. Bhardwaj, B. Basso, and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Comparative water use by maize, perennial crops, restored prairie, and poplar trees in the US Midwest. Environmental Research Letters 10:064015.

Kravchenko, A. N. and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Statistical challenges in analyses of chamber-based soil CO2 and N2O emissions data. Soil Science Society of America Journal 79:200-211.

Ladoni, M., A. N. Kravchenko, and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Topography mediates the influence of cover crops on soil nitrate levels in row crop agricultural systems. PLoS ONE 10:e0143358.

Millar, N. and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Nitrogen transfers and transformations in row-crop ecosystems. Pages 213-251 in S. K. Hamilton, J. E. Doll, and G. P. Robertson, editors. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long-Term Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Oates, L. G., D. S. Duncan, I. Gelfand, N. Millar, G. P. Robertson, and R. D. Jackson. 2015. Nitrous oxide emissions during establishment of eight alternative cellulosic bioenergy cropping systems in the North Central United States. Global Change Biology Bioenergy 10.1111/gcbb.12268.

Robertson, G. P. 2015. A sustainable agriculture? Daedalus 144:76-89.

Robertson, G. P. and P. M. Groffman. 2015. Nitrogen transformations. Pages 421-446 in E. A. Paul, editor. Soil Microbiology, Ecology, and Biochemistry. Academic Press, Burlington, Massachusetts, USA.

Robertson, G. P. and S. K. Hamilton. 2015. Long-term ecological research in agricultural landscapes at the Kellogg Biological Station LTER site: Conceptual and experimental framework. Pages 1-32 in S. K. Hamilton, J. E. Doll, and G. P. Robertson, editors. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long-Term Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Snapp, S. S., R. G. Smith, and G. P. Robertson. 2015. Designing cropping systems for ecosystem services. Pages 378-408 in S. K. Hamilton, J. E. Doll, and G. P. Robertson, editors. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long-Term Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Stuart, D. L., B. Basso, S. T. Marquart-Pyatt, A. P. Reimer, G. P. Robertson, and J. Zhao. 2015. The need for a coupled human and natural systems understanding of agricultural nitrogen loss. Bioscience 65:571-578.

Swinton, S. M., N. Rector, G. P. Robertson, C. B. Jolejole-Foreman, and F. Lupi. 2015. Farmer decisions about adopting environmentally beneficial practices. Pages 340-359 in S. K. Hamilton, J. E. Doll, and G. P. Robertson, editors. The Ecology of Agricultural Landscapes: Long-Term Research on the Path to Sustainability. Oxford University Press, New York, New York, USA.

Ogle, S. M., P. R. Adler, F. J. Breidt, S. Del Grosso, A. Franzluebbers, M. Liebig, B. Linquist, G. P. Robertson, M. Schoeneberger, J. Six, C. van Kessel, R. Venterea, and T. West. 2014. Chapter 3: Quantifying greenhouse sources and sinks in cropland and grazing land systems. Pages 3.1-3.141 in M. Eve, D. Pape, M. Flugge, R. Steele, D. Man, M. Riley-Gilbert, and S. Biggar, editors. Quantifying Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture and Forestry: Methods for Entity-scale Inventory. Office of the Chief Economist, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC.

Pryor, S. C., D. Scavia, C. Downer, M. Gaden, L. Iverson, R. Nordstrom, J. Patz, and G. P. Robertson. 2014. Chapter 18: Midwest. Pages 418-440 in J. M. Melillo, T. C. Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, editors. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program. doi:10.7930/J0J1012N.

Robertson, G. P. 2014. Soil greenhouse gas emissions and their mitigation. Pages 185-196 in N. Van Alfen, editor. Encyclopedia of Agriculture and Food Systems. Elsevier, San Diego, California, USA.

Robertson, G. P., P. R. Grace, R. C. Izaurralde, W. P. Parton, and X. Zhang. 2014. Correspondence: CO2 emissions from crop residue-derived biofuels. Nature Climate Change 4:933-934.

Robertson, G. P., K. L. Gross, S. K. Hamilton, D. A. Landis, T. M. Schmidt, S. S. Snapp, and S. M. Swinton. 2014. Farming for ecosystem services: an ecological approach to production agriculture. Bioscience 64:404-415.

Shcherbak, I., N. Millar, and G. P. Robertson. 2014. Global metaanalysis of the nonlinear response of soil nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions to fertilizer nitrogen. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111:9199-9204.

Shcherbak, I. and G. P. Robertson. 2014. Determining the diffusivity of nitrous oxide in soil using in situ tracers. Soil Science Society of America Journal 78:79-88.

Syswerda, S. P. and G. P. Robertson. 2014. Ecosystem services along a management gradient in Michigan (USA) cropping systems. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment 189:28-35.

Werling, B. P., T. L. Dickson, R. Isaacs, H. Gaines, C. Gratton, K. L. Gross, H. Liere, C. M. Malmstrom, T. D. Meehan, L. Ruan, B. A. Robertson, G. P. Robertson, T. M. Schmidt, A. C. Schrotenboer, T. K. Teal, J. K. Wilson, and D. A. Landis. 2014. Perennial grasslands enhance biodiversity and multiple ecosystem services in bioenergy landscapes. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111:1652-1657.

 

Courses taught:  

CSS 442 Agricultural Ecology

 

Web Links:

Kellogg Biological Station Faculty Website

Long Term Ecological Research

Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center

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