Manuel Lerdau

Professor · Ph.D. Stanford University

Contact Information

I am an organismal ecologist with interests in both the ecosystem implications of physiological processes and the evolutionary underpinnings of these processes. My research centers around fundamental questions of resource acquisition and allocation in plants and touches upon such topics as herbivory and tri-trophic interactions, atmospheric chemistry and air pollution, community and ecosystem impacts of biological invasions, and organismal controls over element cycling.

I combine experimental and observational research and collaborate with modelers in the development of process-based ecosystem models. My research currently centers around questions regarding genomics and stress tolerance and trace gas exchange between plants and the atmosphere. My newest projects involve 1) the physiological ecology of metals, and 2) biological mechanisms underlying ecosystem responses to climate change.

Recent Publications

Cannon, CH and Lerdau MT (2015) Variable mating behaviors and the maintenance of tropical biodiversity. Frontiers in Genetics.


Conservation Ecology:Biodiversity and Beyond (EVSC 2220)
Studies ecological science relevant to sustaining populations, species, ecosystems, and the global biosphere. Includes discussion of genetic inbreeding, critical population size, community structure and organization, maintenance of critical ecosystem function, and global biogeochemistry. Case studies from around the world demonstrate links between human-driven environmental change and the health of the biosphere, at all levels, from the organism to the planet.

Fundamentals of Ecology (EVSC 3200)
Studies energy flow, nutrient cycling and allocation in natural ecosystems, organization of species at the population and community levels, and interaction between people and the biosphere.

Terrestrial Ecology (EVSC 5220)
Analyzes the patterns and processes in terrestrial ecosystems. Topic include macro- and micro-meteorological factors such as producer, consumer, and decomposer processes; hydrologic and biogeochemical pathways; and changes through space and time. Three lecture and four field or laboratory hours.