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Jen Schweitzer

Professor and Head OPEN OFFICE HOURS: 10-11AM MONDAYS & BY APPT.

Research Interest

Community genetics, plant-soil interactions


2002 - Ph.D., Northern Arizona University


ecosystem ecology, community and ecosystem genetics, microbial ecology, plant-herbivore interactions

I take a multi-disciplinary approach to ecology that emphasizes a holistic understanding of the complex interactions between soil geology, soil biota, plant genetic variation and climate to better understand above- and belowground linkages and processes. Specifically, my research interests are focused on the role of plant-soil linkages and feedbacks to soil development and nutrient cycling and the ecological and evolutionary importance of these linkages to both soils and plants.

Folks in my group work to understand the linkages and feedbacks between plant species, soils/soil communities and ecosystem processes. We utilize multiple species including important global forest species, such as Eucalyptus globulus, as well tree species in the western U.S. (Populus spp.), southeastern U.S. (Ailanthus spp.), Hawai’i (Meterosideros spp.) and Tasmania, Australia (other Eucalyptus spp.) as well as herbaceous model species such as Solidago spp.. We apply this approach in a range of contexts from forest management, invasion biology, biodiversity and ecosystem function and global change – the results of which have both applied and theoretical importance to the conservation and sustainability of terrestrial ecosystems.

My current research program centers on three major research directions, involving the importance of functional plant traits to soil processes, the role of plant-soil interactions on plant traits and the overall role of soils in determining species distributions, genetic variation, and genetic divergence. These research areas are broadly comparative across multiple species and landscapes and take field-based approaches to understand the complex ecological and evolutionary interactions that determine the services that ecosystems provide.

Potential students

I am always interested in talking with undergrads and grad students who are interested in working in the lab. Please contact me for further information!


Visit Google Scholar for more publications.

  • *Keubbing S., M.A. Rodriguez-Cabal, D. Fowler, L. Breza, J.K. Bailey, J.A. Schweitzer. Resource availability and plant diversity explain the invasion of an exotic grass. Plant Ecology (in press).
  • *Lojewski, N., D. Fischer, J.A. Schweitzer, T.G. Whitham, S.C. Hart. Genetic components to belowground carbon fluxes in a riparian forest ecosystem: A common garden approach. New Phytologist (in press)
  • *Schweitzer, J.A., M.D. Madritch, E. Felker-Quinn, J.K. Bailey. From genes to ecosystems: How plant genetics links above- and below-ground processes. In: Soil ecology and ecosystem services (D. Wall, ed). Oxford University Press, UK. (in press).
  • *Bailey, J.K., Schweitzer, J.A., Ubeda, F., Zinkgraf, M., Fitzpatrick, B.M., O'Reilly-Wapstra, J., Rehill, B.J., LeRoy, C.J., Potts, B.M., Whitham, T.G., Genung, M.A., Fischer, D.G., Pregitzer, C.C., & Keith, A. From genes to ecosystems: Emerging concepts bridging ecological and evolutionary dynamics. Ecological Reviews. The ecology of plant secondary metabolites: from genes to landscapes. edited by G.R. Iason, M. Dicke, and S.E. Hartley. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. (in press).
  • Schweitzer J.A., J.K. Bailey, D.G. Fischer, C.J. LeRoy, T.G. Whitham, S.C. Hart. Functional and heritable consequences of plant genotype on community composition and ecosystem processes. In: T. Ohgushi, O. Schmitz, R. Holt (eds) Interaction richness and complexity: Ecological and evolutionary aspects of trait-mediated indirect interactions. British Ecological Society (in press).
  • *Genung M.A., G.M. Crutsinger, J.K. Bailey, J.A. Schweitzer, N.J. Sanders. 2012. Goldenrod genotypic diversity determines the relative importance of plant genotype and spatial patterns to aphid abundance. Oecologia 168:167-174.
  • *Smith, D.S., J.A. Schweitzer, J.K. Bailey, P. Turk, S.C. Hart, S.M. Shuster, T.G. Whitham. 2012. Fitness consequences of intra-specific plant-soil feedback. Plant and Soil 352:243-251.
  • *Lessard, J.P., W.N. Reynolds, W.A. Bunn, M.A. Genung, M.A. Cregger, E. Felker-Quinn, A.N. Barrios-Garcia, M.L. Stevenson, R.M. Lawton, C.B. Brown, M. Patrick, J.H. Rock, M.A. Jenkins, J.K. Bailey, J.A. Schweitzer. 2012. Conservation of effect strength through understory, litter and soil communities following deer herbivory. Basic and Applied Ecology 13:59-66
  • *Genung, M.A., J.K. Bailey, J.A. Schweitzer. 2012. Welcome to the neighborhood: Interspecific genotype by genotype interactions in Solidago influence above- and belowground biomass and associated communities. Ecology Letters15:65-73.
  • *LeRoy, C.J., D.G. Fischer, K. Halstead, M. Pryor, J.K. Bailey, J.A. Schweitzer. 2011. Fungal endophyte slows in-stream litter decomposition. Freshwater Biology 56:1426-1433.
  • DeGraff, M.-A., C.W. Schadt, K. Rula, J. Six, J.A. Schweitzer, A.T. Classen. 2011. Interactions among elevated [CO2] and plant species diversity shape root decomposition. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 43:2347-2354.
  • *Blue, J.D., L. Souza, A.T. Classen, J.A. Schweitzer, N.J. Sanders. 2011. Soil nitrogen amendments and insect herbivory alter above-and belowground plant biomass in an old-field ecosystem. Oecologia 167:771-780.
  • *Felker-Quinn E., J.K. Bailey, J.A. Schweitzer. 2011. Soil biota drive expression of genetic variation and development of population-specific feedbacks in an invasive plant. Ecology 92:1208-1214.
  • *Genung, M.A., F. Ubeda, B. Fitzpatrick, J.A. Schweitzer, C.C. Pregitzer, E. Felker-Quinn, J.K. Bailey. 2011. Genetic variation and community change: selection, evolution and feedbacks. Functional Ecology 25:408-419.
  • Schweitzer J.A., D.G. Fischer, B.J. Rehill, S.C. Wooley, S.A. Woolbright, R.L. Lindroth, T.G. Whitham, D.R. Zak and S.C. Hart. 2011. Forest gene diversity influences the composition and function of soil microbial communities. Invited contribution to Special Feature "linking genome to ecosystems", Population Ecology 53:35-46.

* indicates manuscripts with undergraduate or graduate student authors

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