Osvaldo Sala

Foundation Professor and GIOS Center Director
Faculty
TEMPE Campus
Mailcode
4501

Biography

Osvaldo Sala is the Julie A. Wrigley Chair, Regents and Foundation Professor, and founding director of the Global Drylands Center at ASU. Before arriving at ASU, he was the Lindemann Professor of Biology and founding director of the Environmental Change Initiative at Brown University. Sala’s research topics include: responses of arid ecosystems to global changes and consequences on their ability to provide ecosystem services.

His work is reflected in more than 200 publications. Professor Sala’s international and national leadership includes service with the Scientific Committee of Problems of the Environment; Millennium Assessment; IPCC and National Science Foundation. He is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Argentinean National Academy of Sciences; Argentinean National Academy of Physical and Natural Sciences; and a fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science; and Ecological Society of America. He is the president elect of the Ecological Society of America. 

Fax

480-727-7584

Education

Ph.D. Colorado State University

Videos

Google Scholar

Research Interests

The research interests of Osvaldo Sala include several topics, from the functioning of arid ecosystems to ecosystem services and biodiversity, and encompass several scales from local to global. Climate change will affect arid ecosystems primarily through changes in water availability. Therefore, Osvaldo has focused a large part of his research effort on understanding the effects of precipitation patterns in space and time on primary production. His research has contributed to elucidating biogeochemical and structural mechanisms explaining ecosystem lags to changes in water availability. Osvaldo Sala also explored the consequences of changes in biodiversity on the functioning of ecosystems. At the global scale, he has developed scenarios of biodiversity change for the next 50 to 100 years. He is particularly interested in working with scenarios as a way of simplifying, understanding, and communicating the complex relationships that emerge from the study of social-ecological systems.

He employs a wide variety of tools; especially manipulative field experiments, data synthesis and simulation modeling. He has worked in the Patagonian steppe, annual grasslands of California, steppes of Colorado and deserts of Southern Africa and currently he has experiments in the Chihuahuan Desert in New Mexico.

Publications

2017 and 2018 Publications

215.     McKenna, O. P., and O. E. Sala. 2018. Playa-wetlands effects on dryland biogeochemistry: space and time interactions. Journal of Geophysical Research - Biogeosciences 123. https:// doi.org/10.1029/2017JG004176. PDF

214.     Okin, G. S., O. E. Sala, E. R. Vivoni, J. Zhang, and A. Bhattachan. 2018. The interactive role of wind and water in drylands functioning: what does the future hold? Bioscience 68 (9): 670-677. PDF

213.     Peters, D. P. C., D. N. Burruss, L. Rodriguez, D. S. McVey4, E. H. Elias, A. M. Pelzel-McCluskey, D. J.D., T. S. Schrade, J. Yao, P. S., J. Lombard, S. R. Archer, B. T. Bestelmeyer, D. M. Browning, C. W. Brungard, J. L. Hatfield, N. P. Hanan, J. E. Herrick, G. S. Okin, O. E. Sala, H. Savoy, and E. R. Vivoni. 2018. An integrated view of complex landscapes: a big data-model integration approach to trans-disciplinary science. Bioscience 68(9): 653-669. PDF

212.     Apodaca, M., J. McInerney, O. E. Sala, L. Katinas, and J. Crisci. 2018. A Concept Map of Evolutionary Biology to Promote Meaningful Learning in Biology. American Biology Teacher In press.

211.     Munson, S. M., S. C. Reed, J. Peñuelas, N. G. McDowell, and O. E. Sala. 2018. Ecosystem thresholds, tipping points, and critical transitions. New Phytologist 218:1315-1317. PDF

210.     Petrie, M., D. Peters, J. Yao, J. Blair, N. Burruss, S. Collins, J. Derner, L. Gherardi, J. Hendrickson, and O. Sala. 2018. Regional grassland productivity responses to precipitation during multi‐year above‐and below‐average rainfall periods: consequences for responses under climate change. Global Change Biology 24: 1935-1951. PDF

209.     McKenna, O.P., and O.E. Sala. 2018. Groundwater recharge in desert playas: current rates and future effects of climate change. Environmental Research Letters. 13: 014025 doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/aa9eb6. PDF

208.     Wilcox, K. R., A. T. Tredennick, S. E. Koerner, E. Grman, L. M. Hallett, M. L. Avolio, K. J. La Pierre, G. R. Houseman, F. Isbell, and D. S. Johnson. 2017. Asynchrony among local communities stabilises ecosystem function of metacommunities. Ecology Letters. doi: 10.1111/ele.12861. PDF

207.     Franco, A., M. A. Knox, W. Andriuzzi, C. Tomasel, O. E. Sala, and D. H. Wall. 2017. Nematode exclusion and recolonization in experimental soil microcosms. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 108: 78-83. PDF

206.     Knapp, A. K., M. L. Avolio, C. Beier, C. J. Carroll, S. L. Collins, J. S. Dukes, L. H. Fraser, R. J. Griffin‐Nolan, D. L. Hoover, and A. Jentsch. 2017. Pushing precipitation to the extremes in distributed experiments: recommendations for simulating wet and dry years. Global Change Biology. 23: 1774-1782. PDF

205.     Sala, O. E., L. Yahdjian, K. M. Havstad, and M. R. Aguiar. 2017. Rangeland Ecosystem Services: Nature´s Supply and Humans´ Demand. Pages 467-489. in D. D. Briske, editor. Rangeland Systems: Process, Management and Challenges. Springer Verlag, New York. PDF

204.     Sala, O. E., L. Vivanco, and P. Flombaum. 2017. Grassland Communities and Ecosystems.in Reference Module in Life Sciences, Elsevier, New York. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-809633-8.02201-9. PDF

203.     Flombaum, P., L. Yahdjian, and O. E. Sala. 2017. Global‐change drivers of ecosystem functioning modulated by natural variability and saturating responses. Global Change Biology 23: 503-511. PDF

Research Activity

Current Reserach Grants

2018-23 Long-term ecosystem responses to directional changes in precipitation amount and variability in an arid grassland National Science Foundation 

2017-21 Forecasting dryland ecosystem vulnerability to change: a cross-system assessment of vegetation and process responses to disturbance and climate variability on DoD lands SERDP-DOD 

2016-19 Exotic grass and woody-plant encroachment in Southwestern rangelands: Mechanisms of invasion and opportunities of containment USDA-NIFA-AFRI 

2015-18 Water Availability Controls on Above-Belowground Productivity Partitioning: Herbivory versus Plant Response National Science Foundation, (PI) 

2014-19 Drought-Net: A global network to assess terrestrial ecosystem sensitivity to drought

National Science Foundation

Courses

Fall 2019
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
SOS 592 Research
Spring 2019
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
SOS 591 Seminar
GCU 591 Seminar
BIO 591 Seminar
SOS 592 Research
SOS 599 Thesis
Fall 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
SOS 592 Research
BIO 598 Special Topics
Spring 2018
Course Number Course Title
BIO 495 Undergraduate Research
SOS 590 Reading and Conference
SOS 591 Seminar
GCU 591 Seminar
BIO 591 Seminar
Spring 2017
Course Number Course Title
SOS 591 Seminar
GCU 591 Seminar
BIO 591 Seminar
Fall 2016
Course Number Course Title
BIO 591 Seminar
Summer 2016
Course Number Course Title
BIO 790 Reading and Conference
Spring 2016
Course Number Course Title
SOS 591 Seminar
GCU 591 Seminar
BIO 591 Seminar
Fall 2015
Course Number Course Title
BIO 189 Life Sciences Career Paths
Summer 2015
Course Number Course Title
BIO 790 Reading and Conference
Spring 2015
Course Number Course Title
SOS 591 Seminar
ELS 591 Seminar
BIO 591 Seminar

Presentations

2017 and 2016 Presentations

  1. Osvaldo E. Sala, Global Sensitivity of Drylands to Global Change Drivers: A Workshop. PLuS Alliance Meeting, Kings College London, April 2017.
  2. Osvaldo E. Sala, Effects of climate change on ecosystems: directional changes in precipitation amount and variability, Ensenada, Mexico. July 2017.
  3. Osvaldo E. Sala, Chihuahuan Desert ecological research: Results and opportunities. Jornada Experimental Range Annual meeting, New Mexico State University, NM, July 2017.
  4. Osvaldo E. Sala, Theory of the greatest threat to drylands. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 2017.
  5. Osvaldo E. Sala, Paris Climate Agreement and Drylands. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 2017.
  6. Andr� L.C. Franco, Laureano A. Gherardi, Cecilia M. de Tomasel, Walter S. Andriuzzi, E. Ashley Shaw, Katharine E. Ankrom, Osvaldo E. Sala and Diana H. Wall, Cross-site responses of soil nematodes to abnormal growing-season precipitation. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 2017.
  7. Philip A. Fay, Laura Yahdjian, Laureano A. Gherardi, Elizabeth T. Borer, Stan W. Harpole, Eric M. Lind, Osvaldo E. Sala and Eric W. Seabloom, Do nutrients modify ecosystem stability in response to precipitation variability? Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 2017.
  8. Laureano A. Gherardi, Osvaldo E. Sala, Courtney M. Currier, Andr� L.C. Franco and Diana H. Wall, Partitioning of above-belowground producitivity: Spatial and temporal controls of water availability. Ecological Society of America Annual Meeting, Portland, OR, August 2017.
  9. Osvaldo Sala, The effect of climate change on arid and semi-arid ecosystems, Distinguish ecologist program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, March 2016
  10. Osvaldo Sala, Climate change in arid lands: prediction, mitigation and communication. Grantham Institute, Imperial College, London, April 2016
  11. Osvaldo Sala, Novel climate-novel ecosystems: Directional changes in precipitation amount and variability. Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, April 2016
  12. Osvaldo Sala, The effect of climate change on ecosystem functioning, University of Puerto Rico, April 2016
  13. Osvaldo Sala, Above-belowground partitioning of primary production as modulated by precipitation amount. Jornada Experimental Range Annual meeting, New Mexico State University, NM, July 2016
  14. Osvaldo Sala, Laureano Gherardi, Deb Peters and Lara Reichmann, Can we predict responses to directional climate change based on our understanding of pulse responses? Annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Fort Lauderdale, FL. August 2016
  15. Laureano A. Gherardi, and Osvaldo E. Sala,. Effects of contrasting rooting distribution patterns on plant transpiration along a precipitation gradient Annual meeting of the Ecological Society of America, Fort Lauderdale, FL. August 2016
  16. Osvaldo Sala. The Effects of climate change on ecosystem functioning. Purdue University, August 2016
  17. Osvaldo Sala, Effects of Climate Change on Drylands, Institute of Ecology, Xalapa, Mexico. October 2016
  18. Osvaldo Sala, Laureano Gherardi, Debra Peters, Lara Reichmann, Grasslands Response to Precipitation Extremes, American Geophysical Union, December 2016
  19. Osvaldo Sala, Laureano Gherardi, Jos� Anad�n, Changes of the Shrub-Grass Balance under Climate Change, American Geophysical Union, December 2016

Honors/Awards

2013 Ecological Society of America, Fellow
2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science, Fellow
2004 Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large, Cornell University
2003 American Academy of Arts and Sciences, USA, Elected Member
2003 National Academy of Physical and Natural Sciences, Buenos Aires, Elected Member
2002 National Academy of Sciences, C�rdoba, Argentina, Elected Member
1993 Guggenheim Fellow
2003 Bernardo Houssay award for scientific accomplishments, Argentina
1987 Bernardo Houssay award for scientific accomplishments, Argentina

Service

 

Current

* President-elect, Ecological Society of America, 2018-present

* Chair, External Advisory Board, School of Global Environmental Sustainability,

Colorado State University, 2012-present

 

Previous

* Co-Director, SARAS (South American Institute for Resilience and Sustainability

Studies), 2010-16

* LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) National Advisory Board, National Science

Foundation, 2010-13

* Jury of Ramon Margalef Prize, Barcelona, Spain, 2008-2011

* Scientific Advisory Board, SCOPE Biofuels Project, 2007-10

* Rhode Island, Ocean Special Area Management Plan, Science Advisory Task Force, 2008

* Advisor, National Science Foundation, Environmental Research and Education, 2007-09

* Member, Global Agenda Council, World Economic Forum, 2008-09

* President, SCOPE, Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment, 2005-09

* External Evaluation CREAF, Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain, 2008.

* Member, Science Council, The Nature Conservancy, 2005-07

* Secretary General, SCOPE, Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment, 2001-05

* Editorial Board of Climate Research, Inter Research, 1992-05

* Editor of Global Change Biology, Blackwell Scientific, 2003-05

* Editorial Board of Ecosystems, Springer Verlag, 1997-2004

* Editorial Board of Oecologia, Springer Verlag, 1994-2004

* Member at large Governing Board of the Ecological Society of America, 2002-04

* Chair of “Red LatinoAmericana de Botánica,” 2001-2004

* Scientific Committee for the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP),

1994-1996

* Scientific Steering committee of Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE), a core project of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme, 1991-1999

* Leader, Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems (GCTE). Focus 4, Global Change and

Ecological Complexity, 1994-1999

* Steering committee of America's Interhemisphere Geo-Biosphere Organization (AMIGO), 1991-1995

* Scientific Advisory Committee of the Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning: Soils and

Sediment, a program of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment

(SCOPE), 1995-1999

* Scientific Advisory Committee of Diversitas, An International Programme of Biodiversity

Science, IUBS, SCOPE, UNESCO, ICSU, IGBP-GCTE, and IUMS, 1995- 2001

* Scientific Steering Committee of SCOPE, Scientific Committee on Problems of the

Environment, 1998-2001

* Scientific Steering Committee of “Red LatinoAmericana de Botánica”1999-2001

* Biology Panel, National Research Council of Argentina, 1989-1992

* Vice-President Ecological Society of Argentina, 1991-1993

* President Ecological Society of Argentina, 1997-1999 and 1999-2001

* Editorial Board of Vegetatio, Kluwer academic publishers, 1990-1996

* Editorial Board of Global Change Biology, Blackwell Scientific, 1994-2003