MSU Plant Biology Department

Patrick J. Webber, Emeritus


Professor of Plant Biology
Ph.D. (Queen's University at Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

Department of Plant Biology
Michigan State University
East Lansing, MI 48824-1312 USA
Phone: (517) -1284
Fax: (517) 353-1926

Mailing Address: Department of Plant Biology
Michigan State University
100 North Kedzie Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824 USA


Office Location: 223 North Kedzie Hall
Voice: +1 / 517 / 355-1284
Fax: +1 / 517 / 432-2050

Plant Biology Department
Arctic Ecology Laboratory (AEL)
College of Natural Science




My research and teaching interests are broad. I am an ecologist. I am interested in what controls the variety, numbers and distribution of plants, animals and microorganisms. My early training was in classical phytosociology and plant taxonomy. For my doctoral work I applied factor analysis to vegetation studies and later my students and I were among the first to make multi-layered maps using Geographic Information Systems techniques. We pioneered a mapping method which has become a standard required by regulatory agencies in planning prior to resource development. I am perhaps best known as an Arctic ecologist but I also have experience in the landscape ecology of managed landscapes such as are prevalent in the Midwestern United States. Currently I am interested in many aspects of global change. Of particular concern is the need for global change research to branch out from being a climate change program to include issues of resource sustainability in a changing world. Global change research must include the "human dimensions of global change". I teach mostly undergraduate courses in ecology, plant science and environmental awareness. I have directed several large research projects, for example the San Juan Ecology Project, the US Alpine Program of the International Tundra Biome Programme, and I was the founding Principal Investigator of the Alpine Long-Term Ecological Research program of NSF. I have also been director of two large university research institutions. I have helped plan and direct many international science programs such as the International Biological Program, the Comité Arctique International Revegetation Program, the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX) of the Man and the Biosphere Programme of UNESCO and the NSF Arctic System Science Program. My goals at this point in my career are to be a good teacher and to facilitate others to do excellent research.


Current Funding


Scoping and Developing a Circum-Arctic Environmental Observations Network; National Science Foundation.


United States Participation in the Activities of the International Arctic Science Committee, National Science Foundation.


Biocomplexity associated with the response of tundra carbon balance to warming and drying across multiple spatial and temporal scales”.
P.J. Webber and C.E. Tweedie; San Diego State University Foundation.


October 2002 - September 2004
Biocomplexity associated with controls of sensitivity and stability in tundra systems over decadal time scales (BE); National Science Foundation.


Selected Recent Publications


Hollister, R.D., P.J. Webber, and C. Bay. 2004. The response of Alaskan arctic tundra to experimental warming: Differences between short and long term responses. Global Change Biology


Hollister, R.D., P.J. Webber, and C. Bay. 2004. Plant response to temperature in northern Alaska: implications for predicting vegetation change. Ecology

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© 2007 Plant Biology Department, Michigan State University Board of Trustees.