- Undergraduate Education
- B.A. Biology, St. Louis University
- Graduate Education
- M.S. Biology, University of Houston
- Ph.D. Botany, Brigham Young University
Dr. Tom Boutton is a Regents Professor and Sid Kyle Endowed Chair in Ecosystem Biogeochemistry in the Department of Ecology and Conservation Biology at Texas A&M University. His research is aimed at improving our understanding of biogeochemical responses to changes in land cover and land uses in grasslands, savannas, and other dryland ecosystems. In these ecosystems, woody plant encroachment is a globally extensive land cover change that has been occurring during the past 150 years. This important vegetation change is likely driven by several potentially interacting local and global phenomena, including reduced fire frequencies, chronic livestock grazing, rising atmospheric CO concentrations, and climate change. At present, he is evaluating the long-term (>50 years) impacts of woody plant encroachment, herbivory, and their interaction on soil C, N, P, and S storage and stoichiometry, trace gas fluxes, and on soil microbial community structure and function in grasslands and savannas of the southern Great Plains. Stable isotope methodology is being utilized to clarify the mechanisms responsible for changes in elemental storage and turnover. Results from his studies should increase our ability to predict changes in ecosystem function following land cover/land use changes, and enhance the representation of these changes in coupled biogeochemistry-climate models. Dr. Boutton co-directs the Stable Isotopes for Biosphere Sciences Lab, which provides unique analytical capabilities to faculty and students conducting research in ecology and environmental sciences. He received a B.A. in Biology from St. Louis University, an M.S. in Biology from University of Houston, and a Ph.D. in Botany from Brigham Young University. He is a Fellow of the Ecological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, and of the American Society of Agronomy.
Research Interests and Specializations
Biogeochemical consequences of land cover/land use changes in natural and managed ecosystems. Effects of land use patterns and climate change on the carbon, nitrogen, phosophorus, and sulfur cycles. Soil biology and biochemistry. Responses of plants to changes in climate and the gas composition of the atmosphere. Development and application of stable isotope techniques in ecological and biogeochemical research.
Kjeldgaard MK, Eyer PA,McMichael CC, Bockoven AA, King JT, Hyodo A, Boutton TW, Vargo EL, Eubanks MD. 2022. Distinct colony boundaries and larval discrimination in polygyne red imported fire ants (Solenopis invicta). Molecular Ecology 31: 1007-1020. https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.16264
Hines SL, Fulbright TE, Alfonso-Ortega J, Wester DB, Hewitt DG, Boutton TW, Campbell T. 2022. Quantifying herbivory in heterogenous environments: methodological considerations for more accurate metrics. Journal of Arid Environments 199: 104698. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2021.104698
Zhou Y, Hyodo A, Boutton TW. 2021. Ecosystem sulfur accumulation following woody encroachment drives a more open S-cycle in a subtropical savanna. Biogeochemistry 155: 343-355. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10533-021-00829-0
Ansley RJ, Boutton TW, Hollister EB. 2021. Can prescribed fires restore C4 grasslands invaded by a C3 woody species and a co-dominant C3 grass species? Ecosphere 12: e03885. https://doi.org/10.1002/ecs2.3885
Zhou Y, Taylor RJ, Boutton TW. 2021. Divergent patterns and spatial heterogeneity of nutrients in a complex and dynamic savanna landscape. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences 126: e2021JG006575. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021JG006575
McDonald MD, Lewis KL, DeLaune PB, Boutton TW, Reed JD, Gentry TJ. 2021. Nitrous oxide consumption potential in a semi-arid agricultural system: Effects of conservation soil management and nitrogen timing on nosZ mediated N2O consumption. Frontiers in Environmental Science 9: 702806. https://doi.org/10.3389/fenvs.2021.702806