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David Wardle

David Wardle
Professor of Forest Ecology


BRIEF BIO: David Wardle works as the Smithsonian Professor of Forest Ecology at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, and and also holds adjunct positions with the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and with the University of Canterbury and Landcare Research in New Zealand. His research explores the links between aboveground and belowground communities and their consequences for ecosystem functioning. A large proportion of this work is field based and in natural ecosystems, including in forested ecosystems around the world as well as in subarctic and alpine tundra. Current projects focus on ecosystem impacts of invasive biota; consequences of wildfire; ecological changes across successional, retrogressive and elevational gradients; aspects of island ecology; and the ecological role of forest understory vegetation.He has authored two books on aboveground-belowground linkages (published by Princeton University Press in 2002 and Oxford University Press in 2010), and around 300 peer-reviewed journal articles of which around 30 have appeared in Science and Nature. He serves or has served on several editorial boards, including for Science, Ecology, Ecology Letters and the Journal of Ecology. He has also been recognized as a highly cited scientist in every Highly Cited list released from 2006 onwards and is among the world’s 10 most cited scientists in ecology and environmental sciences.  Further, he has supervised a very diverse assortment of 46 postdoctoral researchers and PhD students, most of which have actively published in major journals under his supervision (including in Nature and Science), and most of which hold positions as university faculty or as research scientists in 16 separate countries. Wardle has been the recipient of several scientific awards (most recently the 2018 Eminent Ecologist award from the Journal of Ecology) and is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Wallenberg Scholar.



1989 Ph.D. in Soil Ecology, University of Calgary, Canada

1985 B.Sc. (First class honours) in Botany, University of Canterbury, N.Z.



Smithsonian Professor of Forest Ecology, Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (2007-present)

Guest Professor, Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Sweden (2007-present)

Adjunct Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, New Zealand (2001-present)

Research Associate, Landcare Research, New Zealand (2006-present)



- 1999 Recipient of the New Zealand Association of Scientists Research Medal, awarded annually to one New Zealand scientist under the age of 40 on the basis of scientific merit.

- 2001 New Zealand Ecological Society (Te Tohu Taiao) annual award for ecological research, awarded annually to a New Zealand scientist on the basis of research and application in ecology.

- 2003 Elected Fellow of the Royal Society of NZ (NZ’s primary academy of the sciences).

- 2006 Recipient of an inaugural SLU Excellence award (one of three allocated to SLU, accompanied by 12M SEK funding over 2006-2011.

- 2006-present Recognized by ISI as a ‘Highly Cited’ scientist in the field of Ecology/Environment (top 0.5% of ecologists based on past 20 years).

- 2007-present: Recognized by ESI as amongst the 20 most cited researchers globally in the ‘ecology and environment’ category.

- 2010 Recipient of a Wallenberg Scholars award (one of 10 in Sweden across all sciences and humanities, accompanied by 15M SEK over 2011-2015).

- 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 Recognized as a Highly Cited Scientist (new list) based on numbers of highly cited publications in past 10 years.

- 2014. Distinguished Alumni Award, University of Canterbury, New Zealand.

- 2016. Recipient of a Wallenberg Scholars award (5-year extension; identified as one of top three applicants across sciences and humanities, accompanied by 20M SEK over 2017-2021; funding declined).

- 2016. Rosén´s Linneus Prize in Botany, awarded every three years by the Royal Physiographic Society in Lund, Sweden.

- 2018. Author of paper published in 1995 selected for Citation Classic commentary and author profile in the leading soils journal Soil Biology and Biochemistry.

- 2018. Selected by the Journal of Ecology as their Eminent Ecologist for 2018.



- Member, Board of Reviewing Editors, Science (2009-2016)

- Associate Editor, Journal of Ecology (2013-present)

- Editor, Ecological Studies book series (Springer) (2018-present)

- Member of Board of Editors, Ecology and Ecological Monographs (2005-2013)

- Receiving Editor, Ecology Letters (2001-2006)

- Editorial Board, Ideas in Ecology and Evolution (2008-present)

- International Advisory Panel, BioMedNet (2003-2005)

- Subject Editor, Soil Biology and Biochemistry (1997-2002)

- Editorial Board, Biology and Fertility of Soils (1999-2002)

- Editorial Board, Pedobiologia (1999-2013)

- Editorial Board, NZ Journal of Ecology (1997-present) and Chief Editor (1998-2003).




(i) Postdoctoral researchers

- Fabienne Charpentier (1995-1996).

- Juha Mikola (1998-1999), now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Helsinki, Finland.

- Lena Jonsson (1998-1999).

- Wendy Williamson (1999-2003), now a Staff Scientist at Environmental Research, New Zealand.

- Duane Peltzer (2000-2001), now a Staff Scientist at Landcare Research, New Zealand.

- Tadashi Fukami (2003-2005), now an Associate Professor at Stanford University, USA.

- Hiroko Kurokawa (2005-2008), now an Assistant Professor at Tohoku Univ in Japan.

- Micael Jonsson (2006-2009), now a Researcher at Umeå University, Sweden.

- Fujio Hyodo (2007-2009), now an Associate Professor at Okayama University, Japan.

- Paul Kardol (2009-2011), now an Associate Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå.

- Sheel Bansal (2009-2011), advised by M-C Nilson and D Wardle, now a Staff Scientist at the USGS, North Dakota.

- Zhanfeng Liu (2010-2011), now an Associate Professor with CAS, Guangzhou, China.

- Andrea Vincent (2012-2013), now an Assistant Professor with the University of Costa Rica.

- Stef Bokhorst (2011-2013), now a Researcher at the Free University of Amsterdam.

- Johan Asplund (2011-2013), now a Researcher at the University of Ås, Norway

- Gregoire Freschet (2011-2013), now an Assistant Professor CNRS, Montpellier, France.

- Maja Sundqvist (2012-2014), now an Assistant Professor at Umeå University, Sweden.

- Ciska Veen (2012-2014), now a Researcher at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology.

-  Jordan Mayor (2013-2015), Now based at Humboldt University in California

-  Xavier Cavard (2014-2015), Now based at University du Quebec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue

-  Nicolas Fanin (2015-2016), Now a research scientist at INRA, Bordeaux, France

-  Carol Frost (2015-2017), now an Assistant Professor at the University of Alberta

- Anne Kempel (2016-2017), now a Researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland

- Matthew Luskin (2017-) Co-advised by S. Davies and D. Wardle

- Ludovic Henneron (2018-) Co-advised by P. Kardol, M. Berg and D. Wardle. 

- Roger Grau-Andres (2018-) Co-advised by P. Kardol and D. Wardle

- Shailendra Mishra (2018-) 


(ii) Ph.D. students 

 - Kate Orwin. Defended 2004. Currently a Staff Scientist at Landcare Research, NZ.

- Katja Ilminaren. Defended 2006. Advisors: J. Mikola and D. Wardle.

- Helena Dehlin. Defended 2006. Advisors: M.-C. Nilsson and D. Wardle. Currently at the forest company Sveaskog (environmental policy and research), Vildeln.

- Fiona Dearden. Defended 2007. Currently a Researcher at Exeter University.

- Camilla Esberg. Defended 2010. Advisors: R. Giesler, D. Wardle and B. Graae. Currently  in the Swedish mining company LKAB’s environmental group.

- Maja Sundqvist. Defended. 2011. Currently an Assistant Professor at Umeå University.

- Benjamin Jackson. Defended 2012. Currently a Researcher at the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology, Lancaster.

- Guillaume Bay. Defended 2013. Advisors: M.-C. Nilsson, D. Wardle and U. Rasmussen, now a Postdoc at the University of Iowa.

- Ann Tomlinson. Defended 2014. Advisors: J. Beggs and D. Wardle.

- Mel Durrett. Defended 2014. Advisors: C. Mulder and D. Wardle. Now an Assistant Professor at Rhoades University.

- Nathalie Pluchon. Defended  2015.

- Bright Kumordzi. Defended 2015. Now a postdoc at Laval University.

- Babs Stuiver. Defended 2015. Advisors: M.-C. Nilsson, D. Wardle and M. Gundale. Now based at the Swedish forest company Sveaskog.

- Anna Henriksson. Defended 2015. Advisors: G. Englund, D. Wardle and J. Yu

- Jonathan de Long. Defended 2016. Now a postdoctoral researcher at Manchester University.

- Signe Lett. Defended 2017. Advisors: E. Dorrepaal, D. Wardle, M.-C. Nilsson

- Clydecia Spitzer. Started 2017. Advisors: P. Kardol, M. Gundale, D. Wardle, M. Sundqvist

- Theresa Ibáñez. Started 2017. Advisors: M.-C. Nilsson, M. Gundale and D. Wardle

- Aaron Bell. Started 2018. Advisors: I Phillips and D. Wardle




All publications: 

click here


Selected publications: 

Frost, C. M., Allen, W. J., Courchamp, F., Jeschke, J. M., Saul, W. C. and Wardle, D. A. (2019) Using network theory to understand and predict biological invasions. Trends in Ecology and Evolution (in press).

Fanin, N., Kardol, P., Farrell, M., Kempel, A., Ciobanu, M., Nilsson, M.-C., Gundale, M. J. and Wardle, D. A. (2019) Effects of plant functional group removal on structure and function of soil communities across contrasting ecosystems. Ecology Letters (in press).

Kardol, P., Fanin, N. and Wardle, D. A. (2018) Long term impacts of species loss on community properties across contrasting ecosystems. Nature 557: 710-713.

Fanin, N., Gundale, M. J., Farrell, M., Ciobanu, M., Baldock, J. A., Nilsson, M.-C., Kardol, P. and Wardle, D. A. (2018) Consistent effects of biodiversity loss on multifunctionality across contrasting ecosystems. Nature Ecology and Evolution 2: 269-278.

Bradford, M. A., Veen, G. F., Bonis, A., Bradford, E. M., Classen, A. T., ……, Viketoft, M., Wardle, D. A., Wieder, W. R., Wood, D. A. and van der Putten, W. H. (2017) A test of the hierarchical model of litter decomposition. Nature Ecology and Evolution 1: 1836-1845.

Laliberté, E., Kardol, P., Didham, R. K., Teste, F. P., Turner, B. L. and Wardle, D. A. (2017) Soil fertility shapes belowground food webs across a regional climate gradient. Ecology Letters 20: 1273-1284.

Mayor, J. R., Sanders, N. J., Classen, A. T., Bardgett, R. D., Clément, J. J., Fajardo, A., Lavorel, S., Sundqvist, M. K., Bahn, M., Chisholm, C., Cieraad, E., Gedalof, Z., Grigulis, K., Kudo, G., Oberski, D. and Wardle, D. A. (2017) Elevation alters ecosystem properties across temperate treelines globally. Nature 542: 91-95.

Teste, F. P., Kardol, P., Turner, B. L., Wardle, D. A., Zemunik, G., Renton, M. and Laliberté, E. (2017) Plant-soil biota feedback and the maintenance of diversity in Mediterranean-climate shrublands. Science 355: 173-176.

Wright, A. J., Wardle, D. A., Callaway, R. and Gaxiola, A. (2017) The overlooked role of facilitation in biodiversity experiments. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 32: 383-390.

Isbell, F., Gonzalez, A., Loreau, M., Cowles, J., Díaz, S., Hector, A., Mace, G. M., Wardle, D. A., O'Connor, M. I., Duffy, J. E., Turnbull, L. A., Thompson, P. L. and Larigauderie, A. (2017) Linking the influence and dependence of people on biodiversity across scales. Nature 546: 65-72.

Ricciardi, A., Blackburn, T. M., Carlton, J. T., Dick, J. T. A., Hulme, P. E,…., Sutherland, W. J., Wardle, D. A. and Aldridge, D. C. (2017) Invasion science: a horizon scan of emerging challenges and opportunities. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 32: 464-474.

Kardol, P., Spitzer, C., Gundale, M. J., Nilsson, M.-C. and Wardle, D. A. (2016) Trophic cascades in the bryosphere: the impact of global change factors on top-down control of cyanobacterial N2 fixation. Ecology Letters 19: 967-976.

Wardle, D. A. (2016) Do experiments exploring plant diversity – ecosystem functioning relationships inform how biodiversity loss impacts natural ecosystems? Journal of Vegetation Science 27: 646-653.

Henriksson, A., Wardle, D. A., Trygg, J., Diehl, S. and Englund, G. (2016) Strong invaders are strong defenders – implications for the resistance of invaded communities. Ecology Letters 19: 487-494.

Siefert, A., Violle, C., Chalmandrier, L., Albert, C. H., ……, Sykes, M. T., Vandewalle, M. and Wardle, D. A. (2015) A global meta-analysis of the relative extent of intraspecific trait variation in plant communities. Ecology Letters 18: 1406-1419.

Walker, L.R. and Wardle, D.A. (2014) Plant succession as an integrator of contrasting ecological time scales. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 29: 504-510.

Wardle, D. A. and Lindahl, B. (2014) Disentangling global soil fungal diversity. Science 346: 1052-1053.

Clemmensen, K. E., Bahr, A., Ovaskainen, O., Dahlberg, A., Ekblad, A., Wallander, H.,  Stenlid, J., Finlay, R. D., Wardle, D. A. and Lindahl, B. D. (2013) Roots and associated fungi drive long-term carbon sequestration in boreal forest. Science 339: 1615-1618.

Wardle, D. A. (2013) Drivers of decoupling in drylands. Nature 502: 628-629.     

Sundqvist, M. K., Sanders, N. J. and Wardle, D. A. (2013) Community and ecosystem responses to elevational gradients: processes, mechanisms and insights for global change. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 44: 261-280. 

Laliberté, E., Grace, J. B., Huston, M. A., Lambers, H., Teste, F. P., Turner, B. L. and  Wardle, D. A. (2013) How does pedogenesis drive plant diversity? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 28: 331-340.

Wardle, D. A., Jonsson, M., Bansal, S., Bardgett, R. D., Gundale, M. J. and Metcalfe, D. B. (2012) Linking vegetation change, carbon sequestration and biodiversity: insights from island ecosystems in a long term natural experiment. Journal of Ecology 100: 16-30.

Cardinale, B. J., Duffy, J. E., Gonzalez, A., Hooper, D. U., Perrings, C., Venail, P., Narwani, A., Mace, G. M., Tilman, D., Wardle, D. A., Kinzig, A. P., Daily, G. C.,  Loreau, M., Grace, J. B., Larigauderie, A., Srivastava, D. and Naeem, S. (2012) Biodiversity loss and its impact on humanity. Nature 486: 59-67.

Wardle, D. A., Bardgett, R. D., Callaway, R. M. and Van der Putten, W. H. (2011) Terrestrial ecosystem responses to species gains and losses. Science 332: 1273-1277.

Estes, J. A., Terborgh, J., Brashares, J. S., Power, M. E., Berger, J., Bond, W. J., Carpenter, S. R……Soulé, M. E., Virtanen, R. and Wardle, D. A. (2011). Trophic downgrading of planet Earth. Science 333: 301-306.  

Kardol, P. and Wardle, D. A. (2010) How understanding aboveground-belowground linkages can assist restoration ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 25: 670-679.

Bardgett, R. D. and Wardle, D. A. (2010) Aboveground-Belowground Linkages: Biotic Interactions, Ecosystem Processes and Global Change. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 302pp.

Díaz, S., Hector, A. and Wardle, D. A. (2009) Biodiversity in forest carbon sequestration initiatives: not just a side benefit. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 1: 55-60.

Tylianakis, J. M., Didham, R. K., Bascompte, J. and Wardle, D. A. (2008). Global change and species interactions in terrestrial ecosystems. Ecology Letters 11: 1351-1363.

Wardle, D. A., Nilsson, M.-C. and Zackrisson, O. (2008) Fire-derived charcoal causes loss of forest humus. Science 320: 629.

Fukami, T., Wardle, D. A., Bellingham, P. J., Mulder, C. P. H., Towns, D. R., Yeates, G. W., Bonner, K. I., Durrett, M. S., Grant-Hoffman, M. N and Williamson, W. M. (2006). Above- and below-ground impacts of introduced predators in seabird-dominated island ecosystems. Ecology Letters 9: 1299-1307.

Wardle, D. A. (2006) The influence of biotic interactions on soil biodiversity. Ecology Letters 9: 870-886.

Wardle, D. A. and Zackrisson, O. (2005) Effects of species and functional group loss on island ecosystem properties. Nature 435: 806-810.

Hooper, D. U., Chapin, F. S. III, Ewel, J. J., Hector, A., Inchausti, P., Lavorel, S.,  Lawton, J. H., Lodge, D., Loreau, M., Naeem, S., Schmid, B., Setälä, H., Symstad, A. J.,  Vandermeer, J. and Wardle, D. A. (2005) Effects of biodiversity on ecosystem functioning: a consensus of current knowledge and needs for future research. Ecological Monographs 75: 3-35.

Wardle, D. A., Walker, L. R. and Bardgett, R. D. (2004) Ecosystem properties and forest decline in contrasting long-term chronosequences. Science 305: 509-513.

Wardle, D. A., Bardgett, R. D., Klironomos, J. N., Setälä, H., Van der Putten, W. H. and Wall, D. H. (2004) Ecological linkages between aboveground and belowground biota. Science 304: 1629-1633.

Wardle, D. A., Yeates, G. W., Barker, G. M., Bellingham, P. J., Bonner, K. I. and Williamson, W. (2003) Island biology and ecosystem functioning in epiphytic soil communities. Science 301: 1717-1720.

Wardle, D. A., Hörnberg, G., Zackrisson, O., Kalela-Brundin, M., and Coomes, D. A., (2003) Long term effects of wildfire on ecosystem properties across an island area gradient. Science 300: 972-975.

Wardle, D. A. (2002) Communities and Ecosystems: Linking the Aboveground and Belowground Components. Princeton University Press (Monograph in Population Biology series), Princeton, U.S.A. 392pp.

Ettema, C., and Wardle, D. A. (2002) Spatial soil ecology. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 17: 177-183.

Wardle, D. A., Barker, G. M., Yeates, G. W., Bonner, K. I., and Ghani, A. (2001) Introduced browsing mammals in natural New Zealand forests: aboveground and belowground consequences. Ecological Monographs 71: 587-614.

Loreau, M., Naeem, S., Inchausti, P., Bengtsson, J., Grime, J. P., Hector, A., Hooper, D. U., Huston, M. A., Raffaelli, D., Schmid, B., Tilman, D., and Wardle, D. A. (2001) Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning: current knowledge and future challenges. Science 294: 804-808.

Wardle, D. A., Bonner, K. I., Barker, G. M., Yeates, G. W., Nicholson, K. S., Bardgett, R. D., Watson, R. N. and Ghani, A. (1999) Plant removals in perennial grassland: vegetation dynamics, decomposers, soil biodiversity and ecosystem properties. Ecological Monographs 69: 535-568.

Wardle, D. A., Zackrisson, O., Hörnberg, G. and Gallet, C. (1997) Biodiversity and ecosystem properties. Science 278: 1867-1869.

Wardle, D. A., Zackrisson, O., Hörnberg, G. and Gallet, C. (1997) Influence of island area on ecosystem properties. Science 277: 1296-1299.

Department of Forest Ecology and Management
Faculty of Forest Sciences
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
S- 901 83 Umeå, Sweden
Phone: +46 90 786 8471
E-mail: or  


Visiting Professor at the Department of Forest Ecology and Management; Ecosystems Unit
Telephone: +46907868471, +46706589281
Work description: I work as a Professor of Soil and Plant Ecology, and his research explores the links between aboveground and belowground communities and their consequences for ecosystem functioning. Much of his research is field based, and includes work in Swedish boreal forest and subarctic tundra, and forests in New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere. Current projects focus on ecosystem impacts of invasive biota; consequences of wildfire; ecological changes across successional, retrogressive and elevational gradients; aspects of island ecology; and the ecological role of forest understory vegetation.
Postal address:
Skogens ekologi och skötsel
901 83 Umeå
Visiting address: Skogsmarksgränd 17, Umeå