Professor David Ellsworth

Professor Ellsworth is recognised as a "highly cited" researcher in the fields of ecology and environmental science, with a particular focus on the response of forests to climate change.

He served on the ARC "Excellence in Research for Australia" Biological Sciences committee (2010) as an expert in ecology and forestry. He is senior scientific advisor for the Eucalyptus Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (EucFACE) experiment.

He brings over 15 years experience in teaching and research at the University of Western Sydney and previously the University of Michigan, Duke University and Brookhaven National Laboratory in the USA. He has also been involved in many national and international conferences.

Communication of research on climate change to the wider community is one of Professor Ellsworth's passions. In addition to over 85 research articles in the international literature, he has written articles or been interviewed for Sydney's Sun-Herald, Reuters News Agency, the Washington Post, The New York Times and New York's Newsday, and National Geographic Magazine. He has appeared on news and science programs for Australian television.

David is currently principal supervisor of 1 PhD student; A Bourne, as well as postdoctoral fellows at UWS.

Areas of Research / Teaching Expertise

Tree Nutrition and Physiology; Global Change Biology; Ecological Physiology; Plant Physiology; Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change; Ecosystem Adaptation in Australia; Ecosystem Adaptation in the World; Forest and Woodland Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity

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Grants / Current Projects

When fire and water mix: do carbon dioxide-related water savings drive woody plant thickening and fire dynamics in a grassy woodland?
Co-Researchers: Dr Matthias Boer, Dr Victor Resco de Dios, Professor Ross Bradstock
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant
Period: 2013-2015

What will be the hydrological consequences of elevated CO2? An experimental test of the impacts of elevated CO2 on evapotranspiration in a mature Australian Woodland
Co-researchers: Prof David Tissue
Partner/Funding Body: Commonwealth Scientific & Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) (ACRG), University of Western Sydney 

Woodland response to elevated CO2 in free air carbon dioxide enrichment: Does phosphorus limit the sink for Carbon?
Co-researchers: Prof David Tissue
Partners/Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ACRG)
Period: 2011-2015

Insect herbivore and plant responses in eucalypt forests under climate change at physiological, species and community scales
Co-Researchers: Dr Markus Riegler
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant
Period: 2010-2012

Forest ecosystem water use: Does species diversity matter?
Co-Researchers: Dr Belinda Medlyn, Associate Professor Charles Morris, Mrs Danelia Drewry
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council Linkage
Period: 2009-2011

Understanding the impact of climate change on carbon metabolism in Eucalyptus trees
Co-Researchers: Professor David Tissue
Partner/Funding Body: University of Western Sydney International Research Initiatives Scheme
Period: 2009-2010

How will Eucalypt tree architecture and growth adapt to future atmospheric CO2 and drought?
Co-Researchers: Dr Belinda Medlyn, Dr Gabriel Katul, Professor Reinhardt Ceulemans
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council, Discovery Grant
Period: 2008-2010

Tunable laser diode for laboratory and field measurements
Co-Researchers: Dr Charles Warren, Professor Mark Adams, Professor Jann Conroy, Professor David Tissue
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment & Facilities (ARC LIEF) grant
Period: 2008

Trade Off between carbon sequestration in forests and water yields under rising CO2
Co-Researchers: Professor Jann Conroy, Professor David Tissue
Partner/Funding Body: NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change, Grant Climate Action Grants Program
Period: 2007–2009

The Hawkesbury Forest Experiment: Impacts of Precipitation and CO2 on Trees
Co-Researchers: Professor Jann Conroy, Professor David Tissue, Associate Professor Ross McMurtrie, Professor Derek Eamus, Dr Anthony Haigh, Dr Belinda Medlyn, Professor Sune Linder
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Greenhouse Office
Period: 2005-2008

The Duke Forest FACE Experiment
Co-Researchers:
Partner/Funding Body: U.S. DOE, Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research
Period: 2001-2004 and 2004-2006

Biodiversity, carbon dioxide (CO2) and Nitrogen: Integration and interactions among plants, consumers, decomposers and mutualists
Co-Researchers: P Reich, D Zak
Partner/Funding Body: NSF Biocomplexity
Period: 2003-2007

Canopy conductance and CO2 uptake in response to trace gases CO2 and ozone in aspen and aspen-birch forests
Co-Researchers: M Kubiske, E MacDonald
Partner/Funding Body: U.S. DOE, National Institute for Global Environmental Change, Midwestern Regional Center
Period: 2003-2005

Northern Michigan forest productivity across a complex landscape
Co-Researchers: K Bergen
Partner/Funding Body: U.S.D.A. McIntire-Stennis Research Program
Period: 2002-2004

Plant species economics and strategy-dimensions of plant ecology
Co-Researchers: Dr Mark Westoby
Partner/Funding Body: Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery
Period: 2003-2005

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Selected Publications

Duursma RA, Barton CVM, Lin Y-S, Medlyn BE, Eamus D, Tissue DT, Ellsworth DS, McMurtrie RE, (2014) 'The peaked response of transpiration rate to vapour pressure deficit in field conditions can be explained by the temperature optimum of photosynthesis', Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, vol.189-190, pp 2-10

Sun Y, Gu L, Dickinson RE, Pallardy SG, Baker J, Cao Y, Damatta FM, Dong X, Ellsworth D, Van Goethem D, Jensen AM, Law BE, Loos R, Martins SCV, Norby RJ, Warren J, Weston D, Winter K, (2014) 'Asymmetrical effects of mesophyll conductance on fundamental photosynthetic parameters and their relationships estimated from leaf gas exchange measurements', Plant, Cell and Environment, vol.37, no.4, pp 978-994

Crous KY, Quentin AG, Lin Y-S, Medlyn BE, Williams DG, Barton CVM, Ellsworth DS, (2013) 'Photosynthesis of temperate Eucalyptus globulus trees outside their native range has limited adjustment to elevated CO2 and climate warming', Global Change Biology, vol.19, no.12, pp 3790-3807

De Kauwe MG, Medlyn BE, Zaehle S, Walker AP, Dietze MC, Hickler T, Jain AK, Luo Y, Parton WJ, Prentice IC, Smith B, Thornton PE, Wang S, Wang Y-P, Wårlind D, Weng E, Crous KY, Ellsworth DS, Hanson PJ, Seok Kim H, Warren JM, Oren R, Norby RJ, (2013) 'Forest water use and water use efficiency at elevated CO2: A model-data intercomparison at two contrasting temperate forest FACE sites', Global Change Biology, vol.19, no.6, pp 1759-1779

Franks PJ, Adams MA, Amthor JS, Barbour MM, Berry JA, Ellsworth DS, Farquhar GD, Ghannoum O, Lloyd J, McDowell N, Norby RJ, Tissue DT, von Caemmerer S, (2013) 'Sensitivity of plants to changing atmospheric CO2 concentration: From the geological past to the next century', New Phytologist, vol.197, no.4, pp 1077-1094

Héroult A, Lin Y-S, Bourne A, Medlyn BE, Ellsworth DS, (2013) 'Optimal stomatal conductance in relation to photosynthesis in climatically contrasting Eucalyptus species under drought', Plant, Cell and Environment, vol.36, no.2, pp 262-274

Lin YS, Medlyn BE, De Kauwe MG, Ellsworth DS, (2013) 'Biochemical photosynthetic responses to temperature: how do interspecific differences compare with seasonal shifts?', Tree Physiology, vol.33, no.8, pp 793-806  

Murray TJ, Ellsworth DS, Tissue DT, Riegler M, (2013) 'Interactive direct and plant-mediated effects of elevated atmospheric [CO2] and temperature on a eucalypt-feeding insect herbivore', Global Change Biology, vol.19, no.5, pp 1407-1416

Murray TJ, Tissue DT, Ellsworth DS, Riegler M, (2013) 'Interactive effects of pre-industrial, current and future [CO2] and temperature on an insect herbivore of Eucalyptus', Oecologia, vol.171, no.4, pp 1025-1035

Barton CVM, Duursma RA, Medlyn BE, Ellsworth DS, Eamus D, Tissue DT, Adams MA, Conroy J, Crous KY, Liberloo M, Löw M, Linder S, McMurtrie RE, (2012) 'Effects of elevated atmospheric [CO2] on instantaneous transpiration efficiency at leaf and canopy scales in Eucalyptus saligna', Global Change Biology, vol.18, no.2, pp 585-295

Crous KY, Zaragoza-Castells J, Ellsworth DS, Duursma RA, Löw M, Tissue DT, Atkin OK, (2012) 'Light inhibition of leaf respiration in field-grown Eucalyptus saligna in whole-tree chambers under elevated atmospheric CO2 and summer drought', Plant, Cell and Environment, vol.35, no.5,pp 966-981

Duursma RA, Falster DS, Valladares F, Sterck FJ, Pearcy RW, Lusk CH, Sendall KM, Nordenstahl M, Houter NC, Atwell BJ, Kelly N, Kelly JWG, Liberloo M, Tissue DT, Medlyn BE, Ellsworth DS, (2012) 'Light interception efficiency explained by two simple variables: A test using a diversity of small- to medium-sized woody plants', New Phytologist, vol.193, no.2, pp 397-408

Ellsworth DS, Thomas R, Crous KY, Palmroth S, Ward E, Maier C, Delucia E, Oren R, (2012) 'Elevated CO2 affects photosynthetic responses in canopy pine and subcanopy deciduous trees over 10 years: A synthesis from Duke FACE', Global Change Biology, vol.18, no.1, pp 223-242

Falster DS, Reich PB, Ellsworth DS, Wright IJ, Westoby M, Oleksyn J, Lee TD, (2012) 'Lifetime return on investment increases with leaf lifespan among 10 Australian woodland species', New Phytologist, vol.193, no.2, pp 409-419

Leigh A, Sevanto S, Ball MC, Close JD, Ellsworth DS, Knight CA, Nicotra AB, Vogel S, (2012) 'Do thick leaves avoid thermal damage in critically low wind speeds?', New Phytologist, vol.194, no.2, pp 477-487 

Lin YS, Medlyn BE, Ellsworth DS, (2012) 'Temperature responses of leaf net photosynthesis: the role of component processes', Tree Physiology, vol.32, no.2, pp 219-231

Medlyn BE, Duursma RA, Eamus D, Ellsworth DS, Colin Prentice I, Barton CVM, Crous KY, de Angelis P, Freeman M, Wingate L, (2012) 'Corrigendum: Reconciling the optimal and empirical approaches to modelling stomatal conductance', Global Change Biology, vol.18, no.11, p 3476

Crous KY, Zaragoza-Castells J, Löw M, Ellsworth DS, Tissue DT, Tjoelker MG, Barton,CVM, Gimeno TE, Atkin OK, (2011) 'Seasonal acclimation of leaf respiration in Eucalyptus saligna trees: Impacts of elevated atmospheric CO2 and summer drought', Global Change Biology, vol.17, no.4, pp 1560-1576

Dronova I, Bergen KM, Ellsworth DS, (2011) 'Forest Canopy Properties and Variation in Aboveground Net Primary Production over Upper Great Lakes Landscapes', Ecosystems, vol.14, no.6, pp 865-879

Duursma RA, Barton CVM, Eamus D, Medlyn BE, Ellsworth DS, Forster MA, Tissue DT, Linder S, McMurtrie RE, (2011) 'Rooting depth explains [CO2] x drought interaction in Eucalyptus saligna', Tree Physiology, vol.31, no.9, pp 922-931

Medlyn BE, Duursma RA, Eamus D, Ellsworth DS, Prentice IC, Barton CVM, Crous KY, De Angelis P, Freeman M, Wingate L, (2011) 'Reconciling the optimal and empirical approaches to modelling stomatal conductance', Global Change Biology, vol.17, no.6, pp 2134-2144

Zeppel MJB, Lewis JD, Medlyn B, Barton CVM, Duursma RA, Eamus D, Adams MA, Phillips N, Ellsworth DS, Forster MA, Tissue DT, (2011) 'Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and drought on nocturnal water fluxes in Eucalyptus saligna', Tree Physiology, vol.31, no.9, pp 932-944

Barton CVM, Ellsworth DS, Medlyn BE, Duursma RA, Tissue DT, Adams MA, Eamus D, Conroy JP, McMurtrie RE, Parsby J, Linder S, (2010) 'Whole-tree chambers for elevated atmospheric CO2 experimentation and tree scale flux measurements in south-eastern Australia: The Hawkesbury Forest Experiment', Agricultural and Forest Meteorology, vol.150, no.7-8, pp 941-951

Calfapietra C, Ainsworth EA, Beier C, De Angelis P, Ellsworth DS, Godbold DL, Hendrey GR, Hickler T, Hoosbeek M, Karnosky DF, King J, Körner C, Leakey ADB, Lewin KF, Liberloo M, Long SP, Lukac M, Matyssek R, Miglietta F, Nagy J, Norby RJ, Oren R, Percy KE, Rogers A, Scarasci Mugnozza G, Stitt M, Taylor G, Ceulemans R, (2010) 'New challenges and priorities in the next generation of elevated CO2 experiments on forest ecosystems and plantations', Trends in Plant Science, vol.15, no.1, pp 5-10 

Crous KY, Reich PB, Hunter MD, Ellsworth DS, (2010) 'Maintenance of leaf N controls the photosynthetic CO2 response of grassland species exposed to 9 years of free-air CO2 enrichment', Global Change Biology, vol.16, no.7, pp 2076-2088

Uddling J, Hogg AJ, Teclaw RM, Carroll MA, Ellsworth DS, (2010) 'Stomatal uptake of O-3 in aspen and aspen-birch forests under free-air CO2 and O-3 enrichment', Environmental Pollution, vol.158, no.6, Special Issue, pp 2023-2031

Cernusak LA, Tcherkez G, Keitel C, Cornwell WK, Santiago LS, Knohl A, Barbour MM, Williams DG, Reich PB, Ellsworth DS, Dawson TE, Griffiths HG, Farquhar GD, Wright IJ, (2009) 'Why are non-photosynthetic tissues generally 13C enriched compared with leaves in C3 plants? Review and synthesis of current hypotheses', Functional Plant Biology, vol.36, no.3, pp 199-213

Franklin O, McMurtrie RE, Iversen CM, Crous KY, Finzi AC, Tissue DT, Ellsworth DS, Oren R, Norby RJ, (2009) 'Forest fine-root production and nitrogen use under elevated CO2: Contrasting responses in evergreen and deciduous trees explained by a common principle', Global Change Biology, vol.15, no.1, pp 132-144

Reich PB, Falster DS, Ellsworth DS, Wright IJ, Westoby M, Oleksyn J, Lee TD, (2009) 'Controls on declining carbon balance with leaf age among 10 woody species in Australian woodland: Do leaves have zero daily net carbon balances when they die?', New Phytologist, vol.183, no.1, pp 153-166

Uddling J, Teclaw RM, Pregitzer KS, Ellsworth DS, (2009) 'Leaf and canopy conductance in aspen and aspen-birch forests under free-air enrichment of carbon dioxide and ozone', Tree Physiology, vol.29, no.11, pp 1367-1380

Crous KY, Walters MB, Ellsworth DS, (2008) 'Elevated CO2 concentration affects leaf photosynthesis-nitrogen relationships in Pinus taeda over nine years in FACE', Tree Physiology, vol.28, no.4, pp 607–614

Uddling J, Teclaw RM, Kubiske ME, Pregitzer KS, Ellsworth DS, (2008) 'Sap flux in pure aspen and mixed aspen-birch forests exposed to elevated concentrations of carbon dioxide and ozone', Tree Physiology, vol.28, no.8, pp 1231-1243

Chung H, Zak DR, Ellsworth DS, Reich PB, (2007) 'Declining plant species richness, elevated CO2, and atmospheric N deposition alter soil microbial community composition and function', Global Change Biology, vol.13, pp 980-989

Chung H, Zak DR, Reich PB, Ellsworth DS, (2007) 'Plant species richness, elevated CO2, and atmospheric nitrogen deposition alter soil microbial community composition and function' Global Change Biology, vol.13, pp 1-10

Hogg AH, Uddling J, Ellsworth DS, Carroll M, Pressley S, Lamb B, Vogel C, (2007) 'Stomatal and non-stomatal fluxes of ozone to a northern mixed hardwood forest', Tellus, vol.59B, pp 514-525

McCarthy HR, Oren R, Finzi AC, Ellsworth DS, Kim H-S, Johnsen KH, Millar B, (2007) 'Temporal dynamics and spatial variability in the enhancement of canopy leaf area under elevated atmospheric CO2', Global Change Biology, vol.13, no.12, pp 2479-2497

Sefcik LT, Zak DR, Ellsworth DS, (2007) 'Seedling survival in a northern temperate forest understory is increased by elevated atmospheric CO2 and atmospheric N deposition', Global Change Biology, vol.13, pp 132-146

Zak DR, Holmes WE, Pregitzer KS, King JS, Ellsworth DS, Kubiske ME, (2007) 'Belowground competition and the response of developing forest communities to atmospheric CO2 and O3', Global Change Biology, vol.13, no.10, pp 2230-2238

Reich PB, Hobbie SE, Lee TD, Ellsworth DS, West JB, Tilman D, Knops JHM, Naeem S, Trost J, (2006) 'Nitrogen limitation constrains sustainability of ecosystem response to CO2', Nature, vol.440, no.7086, pp 922-925

Sefcik LT, Zak DR, Ellsworth DS, (2006) 'Photosynthetic responses to understory shade and elevated CO2 in northern hardwood tree species differing in shade tolerance', Tree Physiology, vol.26, pp 1589-1599

Crous KY, Ellsworth DS, (2004) 'Canopy position affects photosynthetic adjustments to long-term elevated CO2 concentration (FACE) in a mature Pinus taeda L. forest', Tree Physiology, vol.24, pp 961-970

Ellsworth DS, Reich PB, Naumburg ES, Koch GW, Kubiske ME, Smith SD, (2004) 'Photosynthesis, carboxylation and leaf nitrogen responses of 16 species to elevated pCO2 across four free-air CO2 enrichment experiments in forest, grassland and desert', Global Change Biology, vol.10, pp 2121-2138

Novick K, Stoy P, Katul GG, Ellsworth D, Siqueira M, Juang J, Oren R, (2004) 'Carbon dioxide exchange and water vapor in a warm temperate grassland', Oecologia, vol.138, pp 259-274

Nowak RS, Smith SD, Ellsworth DS, (2004) 'Functional responses of plants to elevated atmospheric CO2 – Do photosynthetic and productivity data from FACE experiments support early predictions? Tansley Review', New Phytologist, vol.162, pp 253-280

Reich PB, Naeem S, Tilman D, Ellsworth D, Knops J, Craine J, Trost J, Wedin D, (2004) 'Species and functional group diversity independently influence biomass accumulation and its response to CO2 and N', Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences (USA) , vol.101, pp 10101-10106

Reich PB, Uhl C, Walters M, Prugh L, Ellsworth DS, (2004) 'Births, deaths, longevity and phenology of Amazonian rain forest leaves: results of a 9-year, 40,000 leaf demography census', Ecological Monographs, vol.74, pp 3-24

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Eucalyptus Leaf