Scott L. Collins

Distinguished Professor, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico
Email Address: 
Office Address: 

3586 Castetter Hall

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

I received my PhD from the University of Oklahoma in 1981. Paul Risser was my PhD advisor. 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 Distinguished Professor of Biology. I served as PI on the Sevilleta Long-term Ecological Research Program (LTER) from March 2003 through March 2014. My research uses both long term measurements and experimental manipulations to determine how disturbances, such as fire and drought, interact with global environmental change to affect affect aridland 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 also collaborate with John Blair (Kansas State Univ) and Sara Baer (Southern Illinois Univ) on a long-term grassland restoration project assessing how environmental heterogeneity and dispersal limitation affect plant species richness during grassland restoration. I have served as Chair of the Vegetation and Long-term Studies sections, Chair of the Publications Committee, Vice President for Public Affairs and as President of the Ecological Society of America. I served on the Editorial Boards of Community Ecology, Journal of Vegetation Science, Oecologia, Ecosphere and Journal of Ecology. I am currently Editor-in-Chief of BioScience and a member of the Editorial Board of Ecology. After coming to UNM in 2003, I helped to establish a SEEDS Chapter in the Biology Department in association with the Sevilleta LTER. I have been the lead PI on the Sevilleta LTER Summer REU Program since 2008 (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, effects of N deposition on herbaceous communities, analysis of species distribution and abundance, local-regional interactions, productivity-diversity relationships, dynamics of aridland ecosystems.

Professional Experience: 
2016-present, Distinguished Professor, University of New Mexico
2012-2016, Regents' Professor, University of New Mexico
2012-present, Loren Potter Chair of Plant Ecology, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico
2003-2012, Professor of Biology, University of New Mexico
2003-2014, 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, LTER Science Council and Executive Board, 2011-2014
President, Ecological Society of America, 2012-2013
Vice President for Public Affairs, Ecological Society of America, 2014-2015
Editor-in-Chief, BioScience 2016-
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Fellow, Ecological Society of America
Distinguished Service Citation, Ecological Society of America