Whendee Silver

Professor and Rudy Grah Chair

Whendee Silver


  • PhD Ecosystem Ecology Yale University, 1992
  • MS Forest Science Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, 1987
  • B.I.S. Environmental Studies School for International Training, 1982

Research Interests

Ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry

Research Description

My research interests are in the field of ecosystem ecology, and include biogeochemical cycling in the plant-soil-atmosphere interfaces, the effects of disturbance on nutrient cycling, and the relationships among nutrient cycling, land-use, and biodiversity. My lab group works on themes linking climate, plant community characteristics, and biogeochemical cycling in tropical forests, as well as the effects of changing cover types at local and regional scales. Some of the mechanisms we use to study the relationships between climate and ecosystems are to determine the impact of spatial and temporal variability in rainfall, temperature, and relative humidity on plant productivity, ecosystem nutrient dynamics, and soil C, nutrient, and gas fluxes. A second focus of our research concerns the effects of natural and human induced disturbances on forest ecosystems, and the impacts of different rehabilitation or reforestation strategies on biogeochemical cycling. We are interested in determining how long the biogeochemical signal of disturbance events persists, and how species composition alters long term patterns in the flow of carbon and nutrients through ecosystems.

Current Projects

Climate Impacts on Tropical Forest Productivity and Biogeochemical Cycling Systematic climate changes along elevation gradients offer convenient surrogates for climate change. We are currently working along elevation gradients in the Luquillo Experimental Forest (LEF), Puerto Rico, to identify linkages among climate and biogeochemical processes, and to determine any direct or indirect plant and soil responses to soil oxygen availability, temperature, and light. In wet tropical forests, we have found that soil oxygen availability is inversely related to rainfall, and can reach very low levels in non-flooded humid environments. We are measuring the effects of low oxygen levels on biogeochemical processes such as methane production and emission, nitrogen cycling, and P availability. Tropical forest productivity appears to be highly sensitive to very small changes in temperature (19-21 oC). Our research group is working to identify the mechanisms responsible for this apparent temperature sensitivity.

Nitrogen Cycling: Dissimilatory Nitrate Reduction to Ammonium Tropical forests are the largest natural source of nitrous oxide production, a radiatively important greenhouse gas. The general conditions under which nitrous oxide is produced (low soil oxygen, high carbon and available nitrate) also facilitate a less studied process called dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium (DNRA). Our lab, in collaboration with the Firestone lab group, has documented high rates of DNRA in tropical forests. We have shown that DNRA effectively conserves nitrogen in the ecosystem, and is likely to limit nitrous oxide production. We are now exploring other ecosystems for DNRA and determining the factors that favor DNRA over trace gas production. Our work is expanding to temperate forests, grasslands, and boreal forests in systems where redox fluctuates.

Carbon Dynamics is Disturbed and Recovering Tropical Forests The storage of carbon in soils and biomass in tropical forests plays an important role in the global carbon cycle. High rates of tropical deforestation have prompted growing concern about the loss of carbon storage capacity, and increasing rates of carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Considerable recent efforts have focused on documenting the effects of deforestation and land use change on plant and soil carbon pools. Much less research has explored possible mechanisms to help offset carbon losses through reforestation of pasture and agricultural land. In Puerto Rico, we are determining the rate of new carbon accumulation in soils and plants following forest reestablishment. Our preliminary results suggest that carbon allocation patterns among species are likely to affect the rate of ecosystem carbon accumulation and the relative distribution of carbon between plants and soils.

Selected Publications

Yang, W. H., B. Traut, and W. L. Silver. Microbially-mediated nitrogen retention and loss in a salt marsh soil. In press, Ecosphere.

Owen, J. and W. L. Silver. Greenhouse gas emissions from dairy manure management: a review of field-based studies. Global Change Biology doi: 10.1111/gcb.12687.

Silver, W. L., S. J. Hall, and G. González. Differential effects of canopy trimming and litter deposition on litterfall and nutrient dynamics in a wet subtropical forest. In press, Forest Ecology and Management.

Silver, W. L. On being a Luquillo LTER Scientist. In, Willig, W.R. and L. R. Walker (eds) Long-Term Environmental Research: Changing the Nature of Science. Oxford University Press, New York, N.Y. In press.

Ryals, R., M. D. Hartman, W. J. Parton, and M. S. DeLonge, and W. L. Silver. Long-term climate change mitigation potential with organic matter management on grasslands. In Press, Ecological Applications.

Hall, S. J., J. Treffkorn, and W. L. Silver. Breaking the enzymatic latch: Impacts of reducing conditions on hydrolytic enzyme activity in tropical forest soils. In press, Ecology.

McNicol, G. and W. L. Silver. 2014. Separate effects of flooding and anaerobiosis on soil greenhouse gas emissions and redox sensitive biogeochemistry. JGR-Biogeosciences 119: 557-566.

Yang, W. H., W. C. McDowell, P. D. Brooks, and W. L. Silver. 2014. New high precision approach for measuring 15N-N2 gas fluxes from terrestrial ecosystems. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 69: 234-241..

Ryals, R. M. Kaiser, M. S. Torn, A. A. Berhe, and W. L. Silver. 2014. Impacts of organic matter amendments on carbon and nitrogen dynamics in grassland soils. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 68: 52-61.

Wood, T. E., M. Detto, and. W. L. Silver. 2013. Sensitivity of soil respiration to short-term variability in soil moisture and temperature in a humid tropical forest. PLOS ONE 8(12): e80965. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0080965

DeAngelis, K. M., D. Chivian, J. L. Fortney, A. P. Arkin, B. Simmons, T. C. Hazen, and W. L. Silver. 2013. Changes in microbial dynamics during long term decomposition in tropical forests. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 66: 60-68.

Waide, R. B., D. E. Comarazamy, J. E. González, C. A. S. Hall, A. E. Lugo, J. C. Luvall, D. J. Murphy, J. R. Ortíz-Zayas, N. D. Ramírez-Beltran, F. N. Scatena and W. L. Silver. 2013. Climate variability at multiple spatial and temporal scales in the Luquillo Mountains, Puerto Rico. Ecological Bulletins 54:21-42.

Hall, S. J. and W. L. Silver. 2013. Iron oxidation stimulates organic matter decomposition in humid tropical forest soils. Global Change Biology 19: 2804-2819.

Delonge, M, R. Ryals, and W. L. Silver. 2013. A lifecycle model to evaluate carbon sequestration potential and greenhouse gas dynamics of managed grasslands. Ecosystems 16: 962-979.

Hall, S. J., W. H. McDowell, and W. L. Silver 2013. When wet gets wetter: decoupling of moisture, redox biogeochemistry, and greenhouse gas fluxes in a humid tropical forest soil. Ecosystems 16: 576-589.

Yang, W. H.. Y. A. Teh, and W. L. Silver. 2013. Measuring gross N2O production in soil: a reply to Well and Butterbach-Bahl. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.12097.

Bouskill, N. J., H. C. Lim, S. Borglin, R. Salve, T. E. Wood, W. L. Silver, and E. L. Brodie. 2013. Pre-exposure to short-term drought increases the resistance of subtropical forest soil bacterial communities to extended drought. ISME Journal 7: 384-394.

Ryals, B. and W. L. Silver. 2013. Effects of organic matter amendments on net primary productivity and greenhouse gas emissions in annual grassland ecosystems. Ecological Applications 23: 46-59.

Yang, W. H., K. A. Weber, and W. L. Silver. 2012. Nitrogen loss from soil via anaerobic ammonium oxidation coupled to iron reduction. Nature GeoScience 5: 538-541.

Lugo, A. E., N. L. Harris, and W. L. Silver. 2012. Nutrient cycling in the Luquillo Experimental Forest. Chapter 15 in Harris, N.L.; Lugo, A.E.; Brown, S.; and Heartsill Scalley, T. (Eds.). Luquillo Experimental Forest: Research history and opportunities. EFR-1. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture. 152 p.

Rubol, S. W. L. Silver, A. Bellin. 2012. Hydrologic control on redox and nitrogen dynamics in a peatland soil. Science of the Total Environment 432:37-46.

DeAngelis, K. M., J. L. Foutney, S. Borglin, W. L. Silver, B. A. Simmons, and T. Hazen. 2012. Anaerobic decomposition of switchgrass by tropical soil-derived feedstock adapted consortia. mBio . doi:10.1128/ mBio.00249-11

Yang, W. H. and W. L. Silver. 2012. Application of the N2/Ar technique to soil-atmosphere N2 fluxes. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 26:449-459.

Yang, W. H. D. J. Herman, D. Liptzin, and W. L. Silver. 2012. A new approach for removing interference from soil nitrate analyses. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 46: 123-128.

Wood, T. E. and W. L. Silver. 2012. Drought creates a negative feedback to climate change in humid tropical forests. Global Biogeochemical Cycles VOL. 26, GB3005, doi:10.1029/2010GB004014. Featured in Nature News and Views Sept. 2012.

McDowell, W. H., F. N. Scatena, R. B. Waide, N. Brokaw, G. R. Camilo, A. P. Covich, T. A. Crowl, G. González, E. A. Greathouse, P. Klawinski, D. J. Lodge, A. E. Lugo, C. M. Pringle, B. A. Richardson, M. J. Richardson, D. A. Schaefer, W. L. Silver, J. Thompson, D. J. Vogt, K. A. Vogt, M. R. Willig, L. L. Woolbright, X. Zou, J. K. Zimmerman. 2012. Geographic and Ecological Setting of the Luquillo Mountains. Pages 72-163 In Brokaw, N., T. A. Crowl, A. E. Lugo, W. H. McDowell, F. N. Scatena, R. B. Waide, and M. R. Willig (eds.). A Caribbean Forest Tapestry: The Multidimensional Nature of Disturbance and Response. Oxford University Press. Oxford, U.K.

Scatena, F. N., F. Blanco, K. Beard, R. Waide, A. E. Lugo, N. Brokaw, W. L. Silver, B. Haines, and J. Zimmerman. 2012. Disturbance regime. Pages 164-200 in Brokaw, N., T. A. Crowl, A. E. Lugo, W. H. McDowell, F. N. Scatena, R. B. Waide, and M. R. Willig (eds.). A Caribbean Forest Tapestry: The Multidimensional Nature of Disturbance and Response. Oxford University Press. Oxford, U.K.

Brokaw, N., J. Zimmerman, G. Camilo, A. Covich, T. Crowl, N. Fetcher,B. Haines, M. Gannon, J. Lodge, A. Lugo, R. Myster, C. Pringle, J.Sharpe, F. Scatena, T. Schowalter, W. L. Silver, J. Thompson, D. Vogt, K.Vogt, R. Waide, L. Walker, M. Willig, L. Woolbright, J. Wunderle, and X. Zou. 2012. Response to disturbance. Pages 201-271 in Brokaw, N., T. A. Crowl, A. E. Lugo, W. H. McDowell, F. N. Scatena, R. B. Waide, and M. R. Willig (eds.). A Caribbean Forest Tapestry: The Multidimensional Nature of Disturbance and Response. Oxford University Press. Oxford, U.K.

Willig, M. R., C. P. Bloch, A. P. Covich, C A. S. Hall, D. J. Lodge, A. E. Lugo, W. L. Silver, R. B. Waide, L. R. Walker, and J. K. Zimmerman. 2012. Long-term research in the Luquillo Mountains: Synthesis and foundations for the future. Pages 361-442 in Brokaw, N., T. A. Crowl,A. E. Lugo, W. H. McDowell, F. N. Scatena, R. B. Waide, and M. R. Willig (eds.). A Caribbean Forest Tapestry: The Multidimensional Nature of Disturbance and Response. Oxford University Press. Oxford, U.K.

Johnson, K. D., F. N. Scatena, and W. L. Silver. 2011. Atypical soil carbon distribution across a tropical steepland forest catena. Catena 87:391-397.

Cleveland, C.C. A.R. Townsend, P. Taylor, S. Alvarez-Clare, M.M.C. Bustamante, G. Chuyong, S.Z. Dobrowski, P. Grierson, K.E. Harms, B.Z. Houlton, A. Marklein, W. Parton, S. Porder, S.C. Reed, C.A. Sierra, W.L. Silver, E.V.J. Tanner & W.R. Wieder. 2011. Relationships among net primary productivity, nutrients and climate in tropical rain forest: A pan-tropical analysis. Ecology Letters doi: 10.1111/j.1461-0248.2011.01658.x.

Yang, W. H., Y. A. Teh, and W. L. Silver. 2011. Nitrous oxide production and consumption in a peatland pasture: a test of a field-based 15N-nitrous oxide pool dilution technique. Global Change Biology 17: 3577-3588.

McGroddy, M, E., and W. L. Silver. 2011. Biogeochemical cycling in tropical forests. Pages 315-141 in M. Bush and J. Flenly eds, Tropical Rainforest Responses to Climatic Change. Praxis-Springer Verlag, Berlin 2nd edition.

Silver, W.L., D. Liptzin, and M. Almaraz. 2013. Soil redox dynamics and biogeochemistry along a tropical elevation gradient. Ecological Bulletins 4:195–209.

DeAngelis, K. M. M. Allgaier, Y. Chavarria, J. L. Fortney, P. Hugenholtz, B. Simmons, K. Sublette, W. L. Silver, T. C. Hazen. 2012. Characterization of trapped lignin-degrading microbes in tropical forest soil. PLoS ONE 6(4): e19306. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0019306.

Baldocchi, D. B., D. Detto, O. Sonnentag, J. Verfaillie, Y. A. Teh. W. L. Silver, and N. M Kelly. 2012. The Trials and Tribulations of Measuring Methane Fluxes and Concentrations over a Peatland Pasture in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta of California. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 153:177-187.

Hall, S. J., W. L. Silver, and R. Amundson. 2011. Greenhouse gas fluxes from Atacama Desert Soils: A test of biogeochemical potential at the Earth’s arid extreme. Biogeochemistry DOI 10.1007/s10533-011-9650-7.

Teh, Y. T., W. L. Silver, O. Sonnentag, M. Detto, M. Kelly, and D. D. Baldocchi. 2011. Large greenhouse gas emissions from a temperate peatland pasture. Ecosystems 14: 311-325.

Sonnentag, O., M. Detto, B. R. K. Runkle, Y. A. Teh, W. L. Silver, M. Kelly, and D. D. Baldocchi. 2011. Carbon dioxide exchange of a pepperweed (*Lepidium latifolium* L.) infestation: How do flowering and mowing affect canopy photosynthesis and autotrophic respiration?, J. Geophys. Res., 116, G01021, doi:10.1029/2010JG001522.

Liptzin, D., W. L. Silver, and M. Detto. 2011. Temporal dynamics in soil oxygen and trace gases in two tropical rain forests. Ecosystems 14: 171-182.

Cusack, D. F., W. L. Silver, M. S. Torn, S. D. Burton, and M. K. Firestone. 2011. Changes in microbial community characteristics and soil organic matter with nitrogen additions in two tropical forests. Ecology 92: 621-632.

Burgin, A. J., W. H. Yang, S. K. Hamilton, and W. L. Silver. 2011. Beyond C and N: How the microbial energy economy couples elemental cycles in diverse ecosystems. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 44-52.

Cusack, D. F., W. L. Silver, M. S. Torn, and W. H. McDowell. 2011. Effects of nitrogen additions on above- and belowground carbon dynamics in two tropical forests. Biogeochemistry. DOI 10.1007/s10533-010-9496-4

Silver, W. L., A. W. Thompson, D. J. Herman, and M. K. Firestone. 2011. Is there evidence for limitations to nitrogen mineralization in upper montane tropical forests? Pages 418-427 in Bruijnzeel, L.A., Juvik, J., Scatena, F.N., Hamilton, L.S. & Bubb, P. (editors), Forests in the Mist: Science for Conserving and Managing Tropical Montane Cloud Forests. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.

DeAngelis K. M, W. L. Silver, A.W. Thompson, M.K. Firestone. 2010. Microbial community response to recurring changes in soil redox status. Environmental Microbiology doi:10.1111/j.1462-2920.2010.02286.x.

DeAngelis, K. M., J. M. Gladden, M. Allgaier, P. D'haeseleer, J. L. Fortney, A. Reddy, P. Hugenholtz, S. W. Singer, J. S. Vander Gheynst, W. L. Silver, B. A. Simmons, T. C. Hazen. 2010. Strategies for Enhancing the Effectiveness of Metagenomic-based Enzyme Discovery in Lignocellulolytic Microbial Communities. BioEnergy Research. DOI 10.1007/s12155-010-9089-z.

Silver, W. L., R. Ryals, and V. Eviner. 2010. Soil carbon pools in California's annual grassland ecosystems. Rangeland Ecology and Management 63: 128-136.

Dubinsky, E. A., W. L. Silver, and M. K. Firestone. 2010. Microbial ecology drives coupled iron – carbon biogeochemistry in tropical forest ecosystems. Ecology 91: 2604-2612.

Cusack, D. F. M. S. Torn, W. H. McDowell, and W. L. Silver. 2010. The Response of Heterotrophic Activity and Carbon Cycling to Nitrogen Additions and Warming in Two Tropical Soils. Global Change Biology 16:2555–2572.

Liptzin, D. and W. L. Silver. 2009. Effects of carbon additions on iron reduction and phosphorus availability in a humid tropical forest soil. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 41: 1969-1702.

Cusack, D. F., W. L. Silver, and W. H McDowell. 2009. Biological nitrogen fixation in two tropical forests: ecosystem-level patterns and effects of nitrogen fertilization. Ecosystems 12: 1299-1315.

Currie, W. S., M. E. Harmon, I. Burke, S. C. Hart, W. J. Parton, and W. L. Silver. 2009. Extension and limitation of the climate-litter quality paradigm to predict controls on plant litter decomposition over a decade. Global Change Biology. 10.1111/j.1365-2486.2009.02086.x

Teh, Y. A., W. L. Silver, and F. N. Scatena. 2009. A decade of ecosystem reorganization following multiple disturbances in a wet tropical forest. Plant and Soil: 393:197-212.

Cusack, D. F., W. W. Chou. W. H. Yang. M. E. Harmon, and W. L. Silver. 2009. Controls on long-term root and leaf litter decomposition in neotropical forests. Global Change Biology 15:1339-1355.

Marin-Spiotta, W. L. Silver, C. W. Swanston, and R. Ostertag. 2009. Soil carbon gain and loss during 80 years of reforestation of tropical pastures. Global Change Biology 15:1587-1594.

Harmon, M. E., W. L. Silver, B. Fasth, H. Chen, W. J. Parton, & LIDET. 2009. Long-term patterns of mass loss during the decomposition of leaf and fine root litter: An intersite comparison. Global Change Biology 15: 1320-1338.

McGroddy, M. E., W. L. Silver, R. Cosme de Oliveira Jr., W. Zamboni de Mello, and M. Keller. 2008. The fate of phosphorus in a highly weathered Amazonian forest ecosystem: biological versus geochemical cycling. JGR-Biogeosciences 113 doi:10.1029/2008JG000756.

Ostertag, R., E. Marin-Spiotta, W. L. Silver, and J. Shulten. 2008. Litterfall and decomposition in relation to soil carbon pools along a secondary forest chronosequence in Puerto Rico. Ecosystems 11: 701-714.

Templer, P. M., W. L. Silver, J. Pett-Ridge, and M. K. Firestone. 2008. Plant and microbial controls on nitrogen retention and loss in tropical forest soils. Ecology 89: 3030-3040.

Chou, W. C., W. L. Silver, R. D. Jackson, A. W. Thompson, and B. Allen-Diaz. 2008. The sensitivity of annual grassland carbon cycling to the amount and timing of rainfall. Global Change Biology 14: 1382-1394.

Marín-Spiotta, E., D.F. Cusack, R. Ostertag, and W.L. Silver. 2008. Trends in above and belowground carbon with forest regrowth after agricultural abandonment in the Neotropics. Chapter 2 In: R. Myster, ed. Post-agricultural Succession in the Neotropics. Springer, New York, NY. Pp 22-72.

Teh, Y. A., E. A. Dubinski, W. L. Silver, and C. M. Carlson. 2008. Suppression of methanogenesis by dissimilatory Fe(III)-reducing bacteria in tropical rain forest soils: implications for ecosystem methane flux. Global Change Biology 14:413-422.

Marin-Spiotta, E., C. W. Swanston, M. S. Torn, W. L. Silver, and S. D. Burton. 2008. Chemical and mineralogical control of soil carbon storage during tropical reforestation. Geoderma 143: 49-62.

Adair, E. C. W.J. Parton, S.J. DelGrosso, W.L. Silver, S.A. Hall, M.E. Harmon, and S.C. Hart. 2008. A simple three pool model accurately describes patterns of long term, global decomposition in the Long Term Intersite Decomposition Experiment Team (LIDET) data set. Global Change Biology 14: 2636-2660.* Top 3 percent of cited papers 2008-2010 GCB

Parton*, W, W. L. Silver#, I. C. Burke, L. Grassens, M. E. Harmon, W. S. Currie, J. Y. King, E. C. Adair, L. A. Brandt, S. C. Hart, and B. Fasth. 2007. Global-scale similarities in nitrogen release patterns during long-term decomposition. Science 315:362-364. # Co-lead authors.

Marin-Spiotta, E., R. Ostertag, and W. L. Silver. 2007. Long term patterns in reforestation of tropical pastures: plant community composition and aboveground biomass accumulation. Ecological Applications 17: 828-839.

McGroddy, M. E. and W. L. Silver. 2007. Nutrient Cycling and Climate Change in Tropical Forests. Pages 295-316 in M. Bush and J. Flenly eds, Tropical Rainforest Responses to Climatic Change. Praxis-Springer Verlag, Berlin.

Pett-Ridge, J., W. L. Silver, and M. K. Firestone. 2006. Redox fluctuations in a humid tropical forest soil impact N-cycling rates by framing the composition of the soil microbial community. Biogeochemistry 81:95-110.

Teh, Y. A., W. L. Silver, M. E. Conrad, S. E. Borglin, and C. M. Carlson. 2006. Carbon isotope fractionation by methane-oxidizing bacteria in tropical rain forest soils, J. Geophys. Res., 111, G02001, doi:10.1029/2005JG000053.

Chacon, N. W. L. Silver, E. A. Dubinsky, and D. F. Cusack. 2006. Iron reduction and soil phosphorus solubilization in humid tropical forests soils: the roles of labile carbon pools and an electron shuttle compound. Biogeochemistry 78: 67-84.

Lugo, A.E., R.B. Waide, M.R. Willig, T. Crowl, F.N. Scatena, J.Thompson, W.H. McDowell, N.V.L. Brokaw, and W.L. Silver. 2012. Ecological Paradigms for the Tropics: Old Questions and Continuing Challenges. Pages 3-41 in Brokaw, N., T. A. Crowl, A. E. Lugo, W. H. McDowell, F. N. Scatena, R. B. Waide, and M. R. Willig (eds.). A Caribbean Forest Tapestry: The Multidimensional Nature of Disturbance and Response. Oxford University Press. Oxford, U.K.

Teh, Y. A., and W. L. Silver. 2006. Effects of soil structure destruction on methane production and carbon partitioning between methanogenic pathways in tropical rain forest soils. Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences III doi:10.1029/2005jg000020.

Chambers, J. Q., and W. L. Silver. 2005. Ecophysiological and biogeochemical responses to atmospheric change. Pages 57-65 in O. Phillips and Y. Mahli, Tropical forests and global atmospheric change. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England.

Silver, W. L., A. W. Thompson, M. K. Firestone, A. Reich, and J. J. Ewel. 2005. Nitrogen retention and loss in tropical plantations and old growth forests. Ecological Applications 15: 1604-1614.

Trumbore, S. E, E. Salazar da Costa, P. Barbosa de Camargo, L. A. Martinelli, D. Nepstad, D. Ray, and W. L. Silver. 2006. Dynamics of fine root carbon in Amazonian tropical ecosystems. Global Change Biology 12: 217-229.

Teh, Y. A., W. L. Silver, and M. E. Conrad. 2005. Oxygen effects on methane production and oxidation in humid tropical forest soils. Global Change Biology 11:1283-1297.

Silver, W. L., A. W. Thompson, M. E. McGroddy, R. K. Varner, J. R. Robertson, J. D. Dias, H. Silva, P. Crill, and M. Keller. 2005. Fine roots dynamics and trace gas fluxes in two lowland tropical forest soils. Global Change Biology 11: 290-306.

Ostertag, R., W. L. Silver, and A. E. Lugo. 2005. Factors affecting mortality and resistance to damage following hurricanes in a subtropical moist forest. Biotropica 37: 16-24.

Silver, W.L., L. Kueppers, A. E. Lugo, R. Ostertag, and V. Matzek. 2004. Carbon sequestration and plant community dynamics with reforestation of tropical pasture. Ecological Applications 14: 1115-1127.

Chambers, J. Q., and W. L. Silver. 2004. Some ecophysiological and biogeochemical responses of tropical forests to atmospheric change. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Series B. 359: 463–476.

McGroddy, M. E., W. L. Silver, and R. Cosme de Oliviera, Jr. 2004. The effect of phosphorus availability on decomposition dynamics in a seasonal lowland Amazonian forest. Ecosystems 7: 172-179.

Lugo, A. E., W. L. Silver, and S. Molina Colon. 2004. Biomass and nutrient dynamics of restored tropical forests. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution 4: 731-746.

Ostertag, R., F. N. Scatena, and W. L. Silver. 2003. Forest floor decomposition following hurricane litter inputs in several Puerto Rican forests. Ecosystems 6: 261-273.

Varner, R. K., M. Keller, J. R. Robertson, J. D. Dias , H. Silva, P. M. Crill, M. McGroddy, and W. L. Silver. 2003. Experimentally induced root mortality increased nitrous oxide emission from tropical forest soils. Geophysical Research Letters 30: 1141-1145.

Silver, W. L., A. E. Lugo, and D. Farmer. 2002. Soil organic carbon in tropical forests of the U. S. Pages 363-382 in J. Kimble, R. Birdsey, L. Heath, R. Follett, and R. Ratan (eds). The Potential of U.S. Forest Soils to Sequester Carbon and Mitigate the Greenhouse Effect.

Pett-Ridge, J. and W.L. Silver. 2002. Effects of substrate and micro-climate change on the survival and growth of the bromeliad Guzmania berteroniana in a montane tropical forest. Biotropica 34: 211-224.

Lugo, A.E., F.N. Scatena, W.L. Silver, S. Molina Colon, and P.G. Murphy. 2002. Pages 195-225 in L. H. Gunderson and L. Pritchard Jr (eds) Resilience and the Behavior of Large-Scale Systems. Island Press. Washington DC.

Silver, W. L., and R. Miya. 2001. Global patterns in root decomposition: comparisons of climate and litter quality effects. Oecologia 129: 407-419.

Silver, W.L., D.J. Herman, and M.K. Firestone. 2001. Dissimilatory nitrate reduction to ammonium in tropical forest soils. Ecology 82: 2410-2416.

Lugo, A.E, W.L. Silver, S. Brown, F.N. Scatena, and J.J. Ewel. 2001. Managed ecosystems deserve greater attention. Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America 82: 91-93.

Silver, W.L, E. Marin-Spiotta, and A.E. Lugo. 2001. The Caribbean. Pages 155-181 in Kapella, M. and A. Brown eds. Bosques Neotropicales Montanos Nubosos. IUCN Press, Holland.

Silver, W.L., R. Ostertag, and A.E. Lugo. 2000. The potential for carbon sequestration through reforestation of tropical agricultural and pasture lands. Restoration Ecology 8:394-407.

McGroddy, M. and W.L. Silver. 2000. Variations in belowground carbon storage and soil COB2B flux rates along a wet tropical climate gradient. Biotropica 32:614-624.

Silver, W.L., J. Neff, E. Veldkamp, M. Mcgroddy, M. Keller, and R. Cosme. 2000. The effects of soil texture on belowground carbon and nutrient storage in a lowland Amazonian forest ecosystem. Ecosystems 3: 193-209.

Wolter, V. W. L. Silver, D.C. Coleman, P. Lavelle, W.van der Putten, P. deruiter, D.H. Wall, D.U. Hooper, J.M. Dangerfield, L. Brussard, D.E. Bignell, V.K. Brown, K. Giller, J. Van der Koppel, J. Rusek, O. Sala, J. Tiedje, J.A. van Veen, and D. Wardle. 2000. Global change effects on above- and belowground biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems: interactions and implications for ecosystem functioning. BioScience 50: 1089-1098.

D.U. Hooper, J.M. Dangerfield, L. Brussaard, D.H. Wall, D. Wardle, D.E. Bignell, V.K. Brown, D. Coleman, K. Giller, P. Lavelle, G.J. Masters, W.H. van der Putten, P.C. de Ruiter, J. Rusek, W. Silver, J. Tiedje, V. Wolters. 2000. Interactions between above and belowground biodiversity in terrestrial ecosystems: patterns, mechanisms, and feedbacks. BioScience 50: 1049-1061.

Keller, M., A.M. Weitz, B. Bryan, M.M. Rivera, and W.L. Silver. 2000. Soil-atmosphere nitrogen oxide fluxes: effects of root disturbance. Journal of Geophysical Research 105: 17,693-17,698.

Rainey, S., K. Nadelhoffer, W.L. Silver, and M. Downs. 1999. The effects of chronic nitrogen additions on understory species abundance and nutrient content in a red pine plantation. Ecological Applications 9: 949-957.

Silver, W.L., A.E. Lugo, and M. Keller. 1999. Soil oxygen availability and biogeochemical cycling along elevation and topographic gradients in Puerto Rico. Biogeochemistry 44: 301-328.

Silver, W.L. 1998. The potential effects of elevated COB2B and climate change on tropical forest biogeochemical cycling. Climatic Change 39: 337-361.

Olander, L., F.N. Scatena, and W.L. Silver. 1998. Effects of road construction on upper montane forest composition and succession in the Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico. Forest Ecology and Management 109: 33-49.

Silver, W.L., F.N. Scatena, A.H. Johnson, T.G. Siccama, and F. Watt. 1996. At what temporal scales does disturbance affect belowground nutrient pools? Biotropica 28: 441-457.

Zimmerman, J., M. Willig, L. Walker, and W.L. Silver. 1996. Disturbances and Caribbean Ecosystems. Biotropica: 28: 414-423.

Walker, L. W.L. Silver, M. Willig, and J. Zimmerman. (EDS). 1996. Long Term Responses of Caribbean Ecosystems to Disturbance. Biotropica Special Issue.

Silver, W.L., S. Brown, and A.E. Lugo. 1996. Effects of changes in biodiversity on ecosystem function in tropical forests. Conservation Biology 10:17-24.

Silver, W.L., S. Brown, and A.E. Lugo. 1996. Biodiversity and Biogeochemical Cycling. Pages 49-67 in G. Orians, R. Dirzo, and H. Cushman eds. Biodiversity and Ecosystem Processes in Tropical Forests. Springer. Heidleberg.

Vogt, K., D. Vogt, S. Brown, J. Tilley, R. Edmonds, W. Silver, and T. Siccama. 1995. Dynamics of forest floor and soil organic matter accumulation in boreal, temperate, and tropical forests. In R. Lal, J. Kimble, E. Levine, and B.A. Stewart eds., Soil Management and the Greenhouse Effect, Advances in Soil Science, CRC Press Boca Raton. Pages 159-178.

Silver, W.L. and A.E. Lugo. 1995. Life in the cloud forest. In R. Folch, ed, Biosfera 2. Selves tropicals. Enciclopedia Catalana. Barcelona, Spain.

Silver, W.L. and A.E. Lugo. 1995. The kingdom of epiphytes. In R. Folch, ed, Biosfera 2. Selves tropicals. Enciclopedia Catalana. Barcelona, Spain.

Watt F., R. Beymer, F. N. Scatena, W. L. Silver, P. L. Weaver, and L. S. Hamilton. 1995. Comprehensive Bibliography on Tropical Montane Cloud Forest. Pages 247-260. in L.S. Hamilton, Juvik J., Scatena F.N., editors. Tropical Montane Cloud Forests. Ecological Studies 110. Springer-Verlag.

Silver, W.L. 1994. Is nutrient availability related to plant nutrient use in humid tropical forests? Oecologia 98: 336-343.

Silver, W.L., F.N. Scatena, A.H. Johnson, T.G. Siccama, and M.J. Sanchez. 1994. Nutrient availability in a montane wet tropical forest in Puerto Rico: spatial patterns and methodological considerations. Plant and Soil 164:129-145.

Silver, W.L., and K.A. Vogt. 1993. Fine root dynamics following single and multiple disturbances in a subtropical wet forest ecosystem. Journal of Ecology 81:729-738.

Scatena, F.N., W.L. Silver, T.G. Siccama, A.H. Johnson and M.J. Sanchez. 1993. Biomass and nutrient content of the Bisley Experimental Watersheds, Luquillo Experimental Forest, Puerto Rico, before and after Hurricane Hugo, 1989. Biotropica 25:15-27.

Vogt, K.A., D.A. Publicover, J. Bloomfield, J.M. Perez, D.J. Vogt, and W.L. Silver. 1993. Belowground responses as indicators of environmental change. Environmental and Experimental Botany 33: 189-205.

Berlyn, G.P., A.O. Anoruo, A.H. Johnson, D.R. Vann, R.L. Boyce, and W.L. Silver. 1992. Effects of filtered air and misting treatments on cuticles of red spruce needles on Whiteface Mountain, N.Y. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 1: 25-48.

Silver, W.L., T.G. Siccama, A.H. Johnson, and C. Johnson. 1991. Changes in red spruce populations in the montane forests of the Appalachians. American Midland Naturalist 125:340-347.

Silver, W.L. 1990. Disturbance and nutrient cycling. Belowground Ecology, Vol.1:2.

Johnson, A.H., T.G. Siccama, W.L. Silver, and J.J. Battles. 1989. Decline of Red Spruce in High Elevation Forests of New York and New England. In D.C. Adriano and M. Havas eds. Acidic Deposition, Volume 1: Case Studies . Springer-Verlag, N.Y. Pages 85-112.

Silver, W.L. Mangrove Factsheet, 1980, Sierra Club International Earthcare Center, N.Y., N.Y.

Honors and Awards

  • Rudy Grah Chair in Forestry and Sustainability, Berkeley, CA, 2013-PRESENT
  • Plenary Speaker, International Critical Zone Network, Beijing China, 2014
  • Keynote Speaker, Royal Geographic Society, London, England, 2013
  • Tupper Lecture, Smithsonian Tropical Research Center, Panama City, Panama, 2013
  • Google Science Communication Fellowship, Mountain View, CA, 2011
  • Kavli Frontiers of Science Selected Participant, Irvine, CA, 2010
  • Aldo Leopold Leadership Fellowship 2009
  • Biological Sciences Faculty Research Award, 2002, U. C. Berkeley
  • Citation, Soil Science Society of America, for Excellence in Presentation of a Paper, 1999
  • Stellar Course Award, College of Natural Resources 1998, U. C. Berkeley
  • Clare Booth Luce Professorship in Science and Engineering 1995-1997, Boston University
  • Global Change Distinguished Post Doctoral Fellow, 1991-1993, U. S. Department of Energy

Recent Teaching

  • N299 - Individual Research

Contact Information

Email: wsilver@berkeley.edu

Office: 319 Hilgard Hall

Office Phone: 510-643-3074

Fax: 510-643-5098


Office Hours

By Appointment

Research Group(s)

Mailing Address

Dept of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
UC Berkeley
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720