University of Vermont

Carol Adair

Carol Adair

Assistant Professor of Climate Change & Adaptation

Phone: 802-656-2907
Office: 303B Aiken Center
Adair Lab:

Areas of Interest

Global change (including climate change), ecosystem ecology, biogeochemistry, carbon storage and cycling, non-invasive plant invasions, modeling and statistics

As a global change ecosystem ecologist and biogeochemist, I use theory, experimentation, and quantitative methods to understand ecosystem responses to natural and anthropogenic environmental change. Understanding and predicting the response of ecosystems to environmental changes is crucial for sustaining and managing important ecosystems. I am fascinated by how and why ecosystem properties and processes respond to global changes and how these responses may feed back to amplify or diminish these changes. Because predicting and managing the effects of such changes depends on understanding and accurately depicting ecosystem processes, I combine experimental, synthetic and quantitative approaches to develop models and test hypotheses about what drives fundamental ecosystem processes like microbial respiration (decomposition).

Instructional Programs

Environmental Sciences
Natural Resources


Ph.D. 2005 Colorado State University, Ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry (plant invasions)
M.S. 2000 Colorado State University, Ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry (riparian nitrogen cycling)
B.A. 1991 Allegheny College, Environmental Science and Political Science

Selected Publications

Reich, P.B., L.E. Frelich, R. Voldseth, P. Bakken , E.C. Adair. In press/online. Linking understory diversity with productivity, resource availability and heterogeneity in southern boreal forests. Journal of Ecology.

Adair, E.C., P.B. Reich, J.J. Trost, and S.E. Hobbie. 2011. Elevated CO2 stimulates grassland soil respiration by increasing carbon inputs rather than by enhancing soil moisture. Global Change Biology 17(12):3546-3563.

Adair, E.C. and I.C. Burke. 2010. Plant phenology and life span influence soil pool dynamics: Bromus tectorum invasion of perennial C3-C4 grass communities. Plant and Soil 355(1):255-269.

Adair, E.C., S.E. Hobbie, R.K. Hobbie. 2010. Single pool exponential decomposition models: potential pitfalls in their use in ecological studies. Ecology 91(4):1225-1236.

Adair, E.C., P.B. Reich, S.E. Hobbie, J.M.H. Knops. 2009. Interactive effects of time, CO2, N, and diversity on total belowground carbon allocation and ecosystem carbon storage in a grassland community. Ecosystems 12(6):1037-1052.

Adair, E.C., W.J. Parton, S.J. Del Grosso, W.L. Silver, M.E. Harmon, S.A. Hall, I.C. Burke, S.C. Hart. 2008. A simple three pool model accurately describes patterns of long-term litter decomposition in diverse climates. Global Change Biology 14(11): 2636-2660.

Parton W., W.L. Silver, I.C. Burke, L. Grassens, M.E. Harmon, B. Currie, J. King, E.C. Adair, L. Brandt, and B. Fasth. 2007. Global-scale similarities in nitrogen release patterns during long-term decomposition. Science 315: 361-364.