Gund Affiliate, Professor, University of Michigan

Dr. Sander's research is at the interface of community ecology, ecosystem ecology and macroecology, with a focus on how global change drivers and interspecific interactions influence the causes and consequences of biodiversity loss. Nate's research program takes advantage of environmental gradients and experimental manipulations arranged at multiple sites with the aim of forecasting the effects of environmental change on biodiversity. We do experiments on ants, plant-insect interactions, montane plant communities, and a whole variety of other taxa.


  • Penick CA, Diamond SE, Sanders NJ, Dunn RR (In press) On dealing with thermal constraints in ants: Forage when it’s hot, and grow fast, or forage when it’s cold and grow slowly. Functional Ecology.
  • Mayor JR, Sanders NJ, Classen AT, Bardgett, RD, Clement J-C., Fajardo, A. Lavorel, S. Sundqvist, MK, Bahn M, Chisholm C, Cieraad E, Gedelof Z, Griguilis K, Kudo G, Oberski, D, Wardle DA (In press) Elevation alters ecosystem properties across temperate treelines globally.
  • Diamond SE, Nichols, LM, Pelini SL, Penick CA, Barber GW, Cahan SH, Dunn RR, Ellison AM, Sanders NJ, Gotelli NJ (2016) Climate warming destabilizes forest ant communities. Science Advances 2: e1600842
  • Roura-Pascual N, Sanders NJ, Hui C (2016) The distribution and diversity of insular ants: do exotic species play by different rules? Global Ecology and Biogeography 25: 642-654.
  • Jing X, Sanders NJ, Shi Y, Chu H, Classen AT, Zhao K, Chen L, Shi Y, Jiang Y, He J-S (2015) The links between ecosystem multifunctionality and above- and belowground biodiversity are mediated by climate. Nature Communications 6:8159.
  • Sundqvist MK, Sanders NJ, Wardle DA (2013) Community and ecosystem responses to elevational gradients: processes, mechanisms, and insights for global change. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics 44: 261-280.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Biodiversity, global change, mountains, ants, ecosystem function


  • PhD, Ecology, Stanford University
  • BA, Environmental, Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado