Associate Professor of Biology
B.S. Zoology, Oregon State University (1997)
Ph.D. Biology, Syracuse University (2004)
049 Winston Hall
Areas of Interest
Savanna & Grassland Ecology, Plant Ecology, Large Herbivore Ecology, Biodiversity and Ecosystem Function, Biogeochemistry, Phylogenetic Community Assembly
My research focuses on the ecology and conservation of grassland and savannas ecosystems. In particular, I am interested in understanding the unique co-evolution that has occurred between plants and large herbivores in African savannas and the consequences of these interactions for ecosystem processes across large scales. The majority of my research is conducted in the Serengeti Ecosystem of East Africa, one of the last remaining fully functional grazing ecosystems, home to earth’s largest free-ranging ungulate herds and one of the best-studied ecosystems in the paleotropics.
Recent and current projects include: (1) multivariate investigations of how landscape features, plant forage quality and risk of predation interact to determine the spatial distribution of large herbivore resident habitats; (2) understanding how phylogenetic relatedness among plant species contributes to the assembly of communities across ecological gradients; (3) seeking an understanding of factors that maintain savanna heterogeneity and plant species diversity across spatial scales; (4) investigations of the effects of plants and herbivores on nutrient cycling; (5) understanding the factors that determine the dynamics and stability of tree-grass coexistence in savannas across continents.
Anderson, T.M., S. White, B. Davis, R. Erhardt, M. Palmer, A. Swanson, M. Kosmala and C. Packer. 2016. Spatial distribution of African savannah herbivores: species associations and habitat occupancy in a landscape context. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society – Series B 371: 20150314.
Quigley, K.M., G.L. Donati, and T.M. Anderson. 2016. Variation in the soil ‘silicon landscape’ explains plant silica accumulation across an environmental gradient in Serengeti. Plant and Soil, in press
Griffith, D.M., K.M. Quigley and T.M. Anderson. 2016. Leaf thickness controls variation in leaf mass per area (LMA) among grazing-adapted grasses in Serengeti. Oecologia 181:1035–1040.
Rugemalila, D., R. Holdo and T.M. Anderson. 2016. Precipitation and elephants, not fire, shape tree community composition in Serengeti. Biotropica 48: 476–482
Grace, J.B., T. M. Anderson, E.W. Seabloom, E.T. Borer, P.B. Adler, W.S. Harpole, Y. Hautier, H. Hillebrand, E.M. Lind, M. Partel, J.D. Bakker, Y.M. Buckley, M.J. Crawley, E.I. Damschen, K.F. Davies, P.A. Fay, J. Firn, D.S. Gruner, A. Hector, J.M.H. Knops, A.S. MacDougall, B.A. Melbourne, J.W. Morgan, J.L. Orrock, S.M. Prober, M.D. Smith. 2016. Integrative modeling reveals mechanisms linking productivity and plant species richness. Nature 529:390–393.
Morrison, T.A., R. Holdo, and T.M. Anderson. 2016. Elephant damage, not fire or rainfall, explains mortality of overstory trees in Serengeti. Journal of Ecology 104:409–418.
Seabloom, et. al. 2015. Plant species’ origin predicts dominance and response to nutrient enrichment and herbivores in global grasslands. Nature Communications: 6(7710).
Anderson, T.M., J. Bukombe and K. Metzger. 2015. Spatial and temporal drivers of plant structure and diversity in Serengeti savannas. Pages 105-124 in A.R.E. Sinclair, K.L. Metzger, S.A.R. Mduma and J.M. Fryxell (eds), Serengeti IV: Sustaining Biodiversity in a Coupled Human-Natural System, University of Chicago Press.
Griffith, D.M., T.M. Anderson, C.P. Osborne, C.A.E. Strömberg, E.J. Forrestel, and C.J. Still. 2015. Biogeographically distinct controls on C3 and C4 grass distributions: merging community with physiological ecology. Global Ecology and Biogeography 24304–313.
Anderson, T.M., T. Morrison, D. Rugemalila and R.M. Holdo. 2015. Compositional decoupling of savanna canopy and understory tree communities in Serengeti. Journal of Vegetation Science 26:385-394.
Quigley, K.M., and T.M. Anderson. 2014. Leaf silica concentration in Serengeti grasses increases with watering but not clipping: insights from a common garden study and literature review. Frontiers in Plant Science, 21 October 2014.
Holdo, R.M., T.M. Anderson and T. Morrison. 2014. Precipitation, fire and shifting demographic bottlenecks in Serengeti tree populations. Landscape Ecology 29:1613-1623.
Eby, S.L., T.M. Anderson, E.P. Mayemba and M.E. Ritchie. 2014. The effect of fire on mammalian herbivores: the role of body size and vegetation characteristics. The Journal of Animal Ecology 83:1196–1205.
Arnold, S.G., T.M. Anderson and R.M. Holdo. 2014. Edaphic, nutritive, and species assemblage differences between hotspots and matrix vegetation: two African case studies. Biotropica 46:387–394.
Anderson, T.M., T. Morrison, D. Rugemalila and R.M. Holdo. 2014. Compositional decoupling of savanna canopy and understory tree communities in Serengeti. Journal of Vegetation Science 26:385-394
Holdo, R.M., T.M. Anderson and T. Morrison. 2014. Precipitation, fire and shifting demographic bottlenecks in Serengeti tree populations. Landscape Ecology 29:1613-1623
Eby, S.L., T.M. Anderson, E.P. Mayemba and M.E. Ritchie. 2014. The effect of fire on mammalian herbivores: the role of body size and vegetation characteristics. The Journal of Animal Ecology 831196–1205
Borer, E.T., E.W. Seabloom, D.S. Gruner, W.S. Harpole, H. Hillebrand, E.M. Lind, P.B. Adler, J. Alberti, T.M. Anderson, J.D. Bakker, L. Biederman, D. Blumenthal, C.S. Brown, L.A. Brudvig, Y.M. Buckley, M. Cadotte, C. Chu, E.E. Cleland, M.J. Crawley, P. Daleo, E.I. Damschen, K.F. Davies, N.M. DeCrappeo, G. Du, J. Firn, Y. Hautier, R.W. Heckman, A. Hector, J. HilleRisLambers, O. Iribarne, J.A. Klein, J.M.H. Knops, K.J. La Pierre, A.D.B. Leakey, W. Li, A.S. MacDougall, R.L. McCulley, B.A. Melbourne, C.E. Mitchell, J.L. Moore, B. Mortensen, L.R. O’Halloran, J.L. Orrock, J. Pascual, S.M. Prober, D.A. Pyke, A.C. Risch, M. Schuetz, M.D. Smith, C.J. Stevens, L.L. Sullivan, R.J. Williams, P.D. Wragg, J.P. Wright & L.H. Yang. 2014. Herbivores and nutrients control grassland plant diversity via light limitation. Nature 508:517–520.
Lehmann, C., T.M. Anderson, M. Sankaran, S.I. Higgins, S. Archibald, W.A. Hoffmann, N.P. Hanan, R.J. Williams, R. Fensham, J. Felfili, L. Hutley, J. Ratnam, J. San Jose, R. Montes, D. Franklin, J. Russell-Smith, C.M. Ryan, G. Durigan, P. Hiernaux, R. Haidar, D.M.J.S. Bowman and W.J. Bond. 2014. Savanna vegetation-fire-climate relationships differ among continents. Science 343: 548-552.
Anderson, T.M., M. Schütz and A. Risch. 2014. Endozoochorous seed dispersal and the evolution of germination strategies in Serengeti plants. Journal of Vegetation Science, 25:636-647.
Griffith, D.M., and T.M. Anderson. 2013. Responses of African grasses in the genus Sporobolus to defoliation and sodium stress: tradeoffs, cross-tolerance, or independent responses? Plants 2:712-725.
Seabloom, E. et al. 2013. Dominance by invasive species is the real embarrassment of richness: invasion in grassland ecosystems. Global Change Biology 19:3677-3687 (A NUTNET publication – 62 authors).
Gaughan, A., R. Holdo and T.M. Anderson. 2013. Using short-term MODIS time-series to quantify tree cover in an African savanna. Journal of International Remote Sensing 39:6865-6882.
Anderson, T.M., B. Kumordzi, W. Fokkema, H. Valls-Fox and H. Olff. 2013. Distinct physiological responses underlie defoliation tolerance in African lawn and bunch grasses. International Journal of Plant Sciences 174:769–778.