Scott L. Collins

Regents' Professor of Biology, University of New Mexico
Email Address: 
Office Address: 

290 Castetter Hall

Ph.D., Botany, University of Oklahoma, 1981
M.S., Botany, Miami University, 1977
B.A., Biology, Wittenberg University, 1975

I received my PhD from the University of Oklahoma in 1981. After a postdoc with Dr. Ralph Good at Rutgers University I returned to the University of Oklahoma as an Assistant and then Associate Professor of Botany. In 1992 I moved to the National Science Foundation where I served as a Program Director in various programs including Ecology, LTER, Conservation and Restoration Biology, TECO, and Integrated Research Challenges. I was the original NSF Program Director for NEON helping to organize six NEON planning workshops from 2000 through 2002. In 2003 I moved to the University of New Mexico where I am now a Regents' Professor of Biology and the PI on the Sevilleta Long-term Ecological Research Program (LTER). The overarching goal of the Sevilleta LTER, established in 1988, is to understand how abiotic drivers and constraints affect dynamics and stability in aridland populations, communities, and ecosystems. Using both long term measurements and experimental manipulations, we are particularly interested in determining how disturbances, such as fire, will interact with global environmental change to affect moisture inputs and losses, and soil nutrient dynamics, and how those drivers will affect plant community composition and structure. I have also worked extensively in tallgrass prairie as part of the Konza Prairie Long-term Ecological Research (LTER) Program since 1988 where I am  involved in a multi-institution project on Ecosystem Convergence in which we are comparing fire, climate and herbivore effects on tallgrass prairie in North America and mesic Savanna grassland in Kruger National Park, South Africa (see current projects). I have served as Chair of the Vegetation and Long-term Studies sections, Chair of the Publications Committee and as President of the Ecological Society of America. I served on the Editorial Boards of Community Ecology, Journal of Vegetation Science and Journal of Ecology. I am currently on the Editorial Boards of BioScience, Ecosphere and Oecologia. After coming to UNM in 2003, I helped to establish a SEEDS Chapter in the Biology Department in association with the Sevilleta LTER. I am also the lead PI on the Sevilleta LTER Summer REU Program (see opportunities page).

Research Interests: 

Plant community dynamics, gradient models and gradient structure, the role of disturbance in communities, fire ecology, patch dynamics, grassland ecology, analysis of species distribution and abundance, local-regional interactions, productivity-diversity relationships, dynamics of aridland ecosystems.

Professional Experience: 
2003-present, Professor of Biology, University of New Mexico
2003-present, Principal Investigator, Sevilleta LTER Program
2001-present, Professor, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
1998-present, Adjunct Professor, Division of Biology, Kansas State University
1995-2003, Adjunct Professor, Department of Zoology, University of Maryland
1999-2002, Program Director, NEON, NSF
1995-2001, Program Director, Long-term Ecological Research, NSF
1992-2003, Program Director, Ecological Studies, NSF
1991-1994, Associate Professor of Botany, University of Oklahoma
1988-1990, 1992, Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Minnesota Forestry and Biological Station (summer)
1985-1991, Assistant Professor of Botany, University of Oklahoma
1984, Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Ralph E. Good, Rutgers University
1981-1983, Visiting Assistant Professor of Botany, University of Oklahoma
1981, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Dr. Bernd Heinrich, University of Vermont
1979-1981, Research Assistant, Dr. Paul G. Risser, University of Oklahoma
1978, Summer Research Assistant, Oklahoma Natural Heritage Program
1977-1979, Teaching Assistant, Botany Department, Miami University
Recent Awards/Honors: 
Chair Elect, LTER Science Council