background header Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences
background header Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences
background header Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences

Graduate Program of Hydrologic Sciences

Benjamin Sullivan

Assistant Professor

Natural Resources and Environmental Science

Academic & Research Interest

Please visit my lab website

B.S. University of Montana, 2002
M.S. Northern Arizona University, 2007
Ph.D. Northern Arizona University, 2011

Areas of Study

Biogeochemical cycles,   Carbon sequestration,   Climate science,   Ecology,   Global change,   Nutrient cycling,   Soil chemistry,   Soil science/pedology,   Statistical analysis,  

Representative Publications

Sullivan, B. W., R.L. Nifong, M.K. Nasto, S. Alvarez-Clare, C. Dencker, F.M. Soper, K.T. Shoemaker, F. Yoko Yashida, J. Zaragoza-Castells, E.A. Davidson and C.C. Cleveland. 2019, Biogeochemical recuperation of lowland tropical forest during succession, Ecology, e02641.  
Soper, F.M., B.W. Sullivan, B.B. Osborne, A.N. Shaw, L. Phillipot, C.C. Cleveland. 2019, Leaf cutter ants engineer large nitrous oxide hot spots in tropical forests., Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286: 20182504.  
Vuono, D.C., R.W. Read, J. Hemp, B.W. Sullivan, J.A. Arnone III, I. Neveux, B. Blank, C. Staub, E. Loney, D. Miceli, M. Winkler, R. Chakraborty, D.A. Stahl, J.J.Grzymski. 2019, Resource limitation modulates the fate of dissimilated nitrogen in a dual-pathway Actinobacterium., Frontiers in Microbiology, 10, 3 doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.00003  
Winbourne J., M. Harrison, B.W. Sullivan, S. Alvarez-Clare, S. Rafaela Lins, L. Martinelli, M.K. Nasto, D. Piotto, S. Rolim, M. Wong, S. Porder 2018, A framework for evaluating estimates of symbiotic nitrogen fixation in forests, The American Naturalist 192(5) 618-629.  
Freund, S.M., F.M. Soper, S.R. Poulson, P.C. Selmants, B.W. Sullivan 2018, Actinorhizal species influence plant and soil nitrogen in semiarid shrub-dominated ecosystems in the western Great Basin, Journal of Arid Environments 157, 48-56  
Reed, C.C., J. Winters, S.C. Hart, R. Hutchinson, M. Chandler, G. Venicx, B.W. Sullivan 2018, Building flux capacity: Citizen scientists increase resolution of soil greenhouse gas fluxes, PLoS ONE 13(7) e0198997.  
Carter, Z., Sullivan, B. W., Qualls, R. G., Blank, R., Schmidt, C., Verburg, P. 2018, Charcoal increases microbial activity in eastern Sierra Nevada forest., Forests 92 (3): 93, DOI:10.3390/f9020093.  
Harrison, J., Philbin, C., Gompert, Z., Forister, G., Hernandez, L., Sullivan, B. W., Wallace, I., Beltran, L., Dodson, C., Francis, J., Schlageter, A., Shelef, O., Yoon, S., Forister, M. L. 2018, Deconstruction of a plant-arthropod community reveals influential plant traits with nonlinear effects on arthropod assemblages., Functional Ecology DOI: 10.1111/1365-2435.13060.  
Gei, M., D. Rozendaal, L. Poorter, F. Bongers, J. Sprent, M. Garner, T.M. Aide, J. Andrade, P. Balavanera, J. Becknell, P.H. Brancalion, G.A. Cabral, R. César, R. Chazdon, R. Cole, G. Colletta, B. de Jong, J.S. Denslow, D. Dent, S. DeWalt, J. Dupuy, S. Durán, M. do Espírito Santo, G. Fernandes, J. Ferrera Nunes, B. Finegan, V.G. Moser, J. Hall, J.L. Hernandez-Stefanoni, A. Junqueira, D. Kennard, E. Lebrija-Trejos, S. Lecher, M. Lohbeck, E. Marin-Spiotta, M. Martinez-Ramos, J. Meave, D. Menge, F. 2018, Legume Abundance Along Successional And Rainfall Gradients In Neotropical Forests, Nature Ecology and Evolution 2, 11014-1111  
Rejmankova, E., B.W. Sullivan, J. Aldad, J. Snyder, S. Castle, F. Morales. 2018, Regime shift in the littoral ecosystem of volcanic lake Atitlán in Central America: combined role of stochastic event and invasive plant species, Freshwater Biology 63(9), 1088-1106  
Soper, F.M., B.W. Sullivan, M.K. Nasto, B.B. Osborne, D. Bru, C. Balzotti, P. Taylor, G. Asner, A.R. Townsend, L. Philippot, S. Porder, C.C. Cleveland 2018, Remotely sensed canopy nitrogen correlates with nitrous oxide emissions in a lowland tropical rainforest, Ecology 99(9), 2080-2089.  
Uselman SM, Davison J, Baughman OW, Sullivan BW, Miller WW, Leger EA 2018, Restoring dryland old fields with native shrubs and grasses: Does facilitation and seed source matter?, PloS One, 3 (10), e0205760
Osborne, B. B., Nasto, M. K., Asner, G. P., Balzotti, C. S., Cleveland, C. C., Sullivan, B. W., Taylor, P. G., Townsend, A. R., Porder, S. 2017, Climate, Topography, and Canopy Chemistry Exert Hierarchical Control Over Soil N Cycling in a Neotropical Lowland Forest, Ecosystems 20 (6): 1089-1103.
Castle, S. C., Sullivan, B. W., Knelman, J., Hood, E., Nemergut, D. R., Schmidt, S. K., Cleveland, C. C. 2017, Nutrient limitation of soil microbial activity during the earliest stages of ecosystem development., Oecologia 185: 513
Taylor, P.G., Cleveland, C. C., Wieder, W. R., Sullivan, B. W., Doughty, C. E., Dobrowski, S., Townsend, A.R. 2017, Temperature and rainfall interact to control carbon cycling in tropical forests., Ecology Letters 20 (6): 779-788.  
Cleveland, C. C., Taylor, P., Chadwick, K. D., Doughty, C., Malhi, Y., Smith, W. K., Sullivan, B. W., Wieder, W. R., Townsend, A. R. 2015, A comparison of plot-based, satellite and Earth system model estimates of tropical NPP., Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29(5), 626–644.  
Sullivan, B. W., Nasto, M. K., Hart, S. C., Hungate, B. A. 2015, Proximate controls on semiarid soil greenhouse gas fluxes across 3 million years of soil development., Biogeochemistry, 125(3), 375-391.  
Sullivan, B.W., S. Alvarez-Clare, S.C. Castle, S. Porder, S. Reed, L. Schreeg, A. Townsend, C.C. Cleveland. 2014, Assessing nutrient limitation in complex forested ecosystems: Alternatives to large-scale fertilization experiments., Ecology 95 (3). 668-681
Nasto, M.K., S. Alvarez-Clare, Y. Lekberg, B.W. Sullivan, A.R. Townsend, C.C. Cleveland. 2014, Interactions among nitrogen fixation and soil phosphorus acquisition strategies in lowland tropical rain forests, Ecology Letters 17(10): 1282–1289.

Paradoxically, symbiotic dinitrogen (N2) fixers are abundant in nitrogen (N)-rich, phosphorus (P)-poor lowland tropical rain forests. One hypothesis to explain this pattern states that N2 fixers have an advantage in acquiring soil P by producing more N-rich enzymes (phosphatases) that mineralise organic P than non-N2 fixers. We assessed soil and root phosphatase activity between fixers and non-fixers in two lowland tropical rain forest sites, but also addressed the hypothesis that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonisation (another P acquisition strategy) is greater on fixers than non-fixers. Root phosphatase activity and AM colonisation were higher for fixers than non-fixers, and strong correlations between AM colonisation and N2 fixation at both sites suggest that the N–P interactions mediated by fixers may generally apply across tropical forests. We suggest that phosphatase enzymes and AM fungi enhance the capacity of N2 fixers to acquire soil P, thus contributing to their high abundance in tropical forests.

Sullivan, B.W., W.K. Smith, A.R. Townsend, M.K. Nasto, S.C. Reed, R. Chazdon, C.C. Cleveland 2014, Spatially robust estimates of biological nitrogen (N) fixation imply substantial human alteration of the tropical N cycle., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111 (22), 8101-8106.
Sullivan, B.W., P.C. Selmants, S.C. Hart. 2013, Does dissolved organic carbon regulate biological methane oxidation in semiarid soils?, Global Change Biology 19 (7), 2149-2157.
Sullivan, B.W., S.C. Hart. 2013, Evaluation of mechanisms controlling the priming of soil carbon along a substrate age gradient., Soil Biology and Biochemistry 58, 293-301.
Looney, C.L., B.W. Sullivan, J.M. Kane, T.E. Kolb, S.C. Hart. 2012, Effects of water additions on pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) water relations, growth, and mortality across a three million year old soil age gradient in northern Arizona, USA., Plant and Soil 357, 89-102.  
Sullivan, B and Drew, M 2016, Carbon Sequestration Monitoring Equipment Demo,
Photo of Benjamin Sullivan

Contact Info

1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  Nevada   89557
Office: (775) 784-6374