Dave Wedin

Dave Wedin

  • Contact Information
  • My Story
  • Publications & Presentations
  • Background
  • Interests
  • Grants
  • Advising
  • Courses Taught
  • Outreach

Title Ecosystem Ecologist
Address 411 Hardin Hall
3310 Holdrege Street
Lincoln NE
Phone 402-472-9608
FAX 402-472-2946
E-mail dwedin1@unl.edu
Vitae Download file

Hi, I'm David Wedin, professor in plant and ecosystem ecology at the School of Natural Resources.

My research interests include grassland and savanna ecology, carbon and nitrogen cycling in terrestrial ecosystems, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, landscape ecology and fire ecology. They also include nitrogen-use-efficiency and resource allocation in plants, and stable isotope studies of plant-soil feedbacks.

Current research projects in Nebraska include the Sandhills Biocomplexity Project, subtitled "Spatiotemporal coupling of ecological and geological dynamics in the Nebraska Sandhills," and the ecosystem consequences of ponderosa pine establishment in the Nebraska Sandhills at the planted Nebraska National Forest at Halsey.

In the biocomplexity project that I co-lead with two other researchers, 15 total co-investigators from diverse disciplines will use a $1.8 million grant from the National Science Foundation to take an integrated approach to studying the dynamics of the Nebraska Sandhills from the last few thousand years to today, particularly the interactions of water, dunes and vegetation as the grass cover is stripped or recovers. The Sandhills are a model system for biocomplexity studies, in particular studies that integrate the perspectives of ecologists and geologists to understand how ecological interactions, geomorphology (landscape structure and development) and climate interact to shape a landscape.

Dave Wedin

Regarding pine establishment in the Sandhills, revisiting in a mosophisticated way the notions of landscape influence on climate, near the end of the 20th century, hypotheses that changes in land cover may have significant feedbacks on climate at various scales returned to the fore in ecology and biogeochemistry. The documented site history, relatively uniform soils and age (70 years on average) of the experimental ponderosa pine plantings at NNF make them uniquely suited to address these issues in the Great Plains.

Before coming to UI was an assistant and associate professor in the Department of Botany at the University of Toronto from 1992-1998.

I chaired the Initiative in Ecological and Evolutionary Analysis Graduate Students Grant program in spring 2000.

I was a guest instructor in April 1999Interactions between Element Cycles and Ecosystems, a graduate course at Wageningen Agricultural University in The Netherlands. From 1997-2000, I was associate editor of "American Naturalist." In 1997, I was a member of the Ontario Graduate Scholarships Review Panel, and in 1996 I was a member of the Conservation and Restoration Biology Grant Review Panel of the U.S. National Science Foundation.

Selected Publications

Liang, Z. B., Lee, D. J., Dweikat, I., Wedin, D. A., Yuen, G., Drijber, R. (2017). Molecular diversity of arbuscular mycorrhizae in roots of Juniperus virginiana invasive to grasslands. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 81, 526-536. Online
Msanne, J., Awada, T. N., Schacht, W., Drijber, R., Okalebo, J., Wedin, D. A., Brandle, J. R. 2017. Ecophysiological control of native invasive woody Juniperus virginiana to resource availability and stand characteristics in the semi-arid grasslands of the Nebraska Sandhills. Photosynthetica, 55: 219-230. Online
Durso, L. M., Wedin, D. A., Gilley, J. E., Miller, D., Marx, D. 2016. Assessment of Selected Antibiotic Resistances in Ungrazed Native Nebraska Prairie Soils. Journal of Environmental Quality, 45:454-462.
Fay, P. A., Wedin, D. A., NUTNET (38 authors) (2015). Grassland Productivity Limited by Multiple Nutrients. Nature Plants, doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.80.
Fay, P. A., Wedin, D. A., NUTNET. 2015. Grassland Productivity Limited by Multiple Nutrients. Nature Plants. doi:10.1038/nplants.2015.80. Online
Wang, T., Istanbulluoglu, E., Wedin, D. A., Hanson, P. (2015). Impacts of devegetation on the temporal evolution of soil saturated hydraulic conductivity in a vegetated sand dune area. Environmental Earth Sciences(73), 7651-7660
Wang, T., Wedin, D. A., Franz, T., Hiller, J. (2015). Effect of vegetation on the temporal stability of soil moisture in grass-stabilized semi-arid sand dunes. Journal of Hydrology. 521: 447-459. Online
Awada, T., El-Hage, R., Geha, M., Wedin, D.A., Huddle, J.A., Zhou, X., Msanne, J., Sudmeyer, R.A., Martin, D.L., and Brandle, J.R. (2013). Intra-annual variability and environmental controls over transpiration in a 58-year-old even-aged stand of invasive woody Juniperus virginiana L. in the Nebraska Sandhills, USA. Ecohydrology. 6: 731-740. Online
Nemec, K., Allen, C., Wedin, D. A., Helzer, C. (2013). Influence of diversity and seeding density on invasion resistance in experimental tallgrass prairie restorations. Ecological Restoration, 31, 168-185. Online
Erkan, I., Tiejun, W., Wedin, D. A. (2012). Evaluation of Ecohydrologic Model Parsimony at Local and Regional Scales in a Semiarid Grassland Ecosystem. Ecohydrology, 5, 121-142 Online
Wingeyer, A., Walters, D. T., Drijber, R., Olk, D., Arkebauer, T., Wedin, D. A., Francis, C., Verma, S. (2012). Fall Conservation Deep Tillage Stabilizes Maize Residues into Soil Organic Matter. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 76, 2154-2163. Online
Awada, T., S. Bihmidine, N. Bryan, X. Zhou, J. Huddle, K. Eggemeyer, D. Wedin, and F.E. Harvey, 2010, Ecophysiological and Growth Traits Explain the Success of Two Invasive Woody Species in the Semi-arid Grasslands of Nebraska, USA, 3rd Annual International Symposium on Agricultural Research, Athens, Greece, (in press).
Eggemeyer, K.D., Awada, T., Harvey, F.E., Wedin, D., Zanner, R. and Zhou, X. 2009. Seasonal Changes in depth of water uptake for encroaching trees Juniperus virginiana and Pinus ponderosa and two dominant C4 grasses in a semi-arid grassland. Tree Physiology. 29:157-169. Online
Powell, L.A., A.J. Tyre, S.E. Hygnstrom, D.A. Wedin, P.R. Hanson, M.S. Kuzila, and J.B. Swinehart. 2009. Wilderness serendipity: planning and assessing learning during an experiential field course.North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture Journal 53: 56-61. Online
Wang, T., Zlotnik, V.A., Wedin, D., Wally, K.D. (2008). Spatial trends in saturated hydraulic conductivity of vegetated dunes in the Nebraska Sand Hills: Effects of depth and topography. J. Hydrol., 349, 88-97. Online
Eggemeyer, K.D., Awada, T., Wedin, D., Harvey, F.E. and Zhou, X. 2006. Ecophysiology of two native invasive woody species and two dominant warm-season grasses in the semiarid grasslands of the Nebraska Sandhills. International Journal of Plant Sciences 167: 991-999. Online
Eggemeyer, K.D., T. Awada, D.A. Wedin, F.E. Harvey, and X. Zhou, 2006. Ecophysiology of Two Native Invasive Woody Species and Two Dominant Warm-Season Grasses in the Semi-arid Grasslands of the Nebraska Sandhills, International Journal of Plant Sciences, 167(5):991-999. Online
Sridhar, V., K.G. Hubbard, and D.A. Wedin. 2006. Assessment of soil moisture dynamics of the Nebraska Sandhills using long-term measurements and a hydrology model. J. of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering. 132:463-473. Online
Tjoelker, M.G., J.M. Craine, D. Wedin, P.B. Reich and D. Tilman. 2005. Linking leaf and root trait syndromes among 39 grassland and savannah species. New Phytologist, 167:493-508. Online
Reich, P.B., D. Tilman, S. Naeem, D.S. Ellsworth, J. Knops, J. Craine, D. Wedin, and J. Trost. 2004. Species and functional group diversity independently influence biomass accumulation and its response to CO2 and N. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, (PNAS) 101:10101-10106. Online
Sanderson, M.A., R.H. Skinner, D.J. Barker, G.R. Edwards, B.F. Tracy, and D.A. Wedin. 2004. Plant species diversity and management of temperate forage and grazing land ecosystems. Crop Science, 44:1132-1144. Online
Wedin, D.A. 2004. C4 Grasses: Resource use, ecology and global change. 2004. Pages 15-50 in Moser, L.E., B.L. Burson, and L.E. Sollenberger (ed.) Warm-Season (C4) Grasses. Monograph No. 45. ASA, CSSA, SSSA. Madison, WI. Online
Craine, J.M., D.A. Wedin, F.S. Chapin and P.B. Reich 2003. Relationship between the structure of root systems and resource use for 11 North American grassland plants. Plant Ecology. 165:85-100 . Online
Craine, J.M., D.A.Wedin, F.S. Chapin III, and P.B.Reich. 2003. The dependence of root system properties on root system biomass of 10 North American grassland species. Plant and Soil, 250:39-47. (UNL ARD #13772). Online
Craine, J.M., Tilman, D.G., Wedin, D.A., Reich, P.B., Tjoekler, M.J., Knops, J.M.H., Knops. 2002. Functional Traits, Productivity and Effects on Nitrogen Cycling of 33 Grasslands Species. Functional Ecology. Functional Ecology. 16:563-574.
Knops, J.M.H., Bradley, K.L., Wedin, D.A. 2002. Mechanisms of Species Impacts on Ecosystem Nitrogen Cycling. Ecology Letters. 5:454-466. Online
Crane, J.M., D.A. Wedin, and P.B. Reich 2001. The response of soil CO2 flux to changes in atmospheric CO2 nitrogen supply , and plant diversity. Global Change Biology. 7:947-953 . Online
Knops, J.M.H., Wedin, D., Tilman, D. 2001. Biodiversity and Decomposition in Experimental Grassland Ecosystems. Oecologia. 126:429-433. Online
Reich, P., Knops, J., Tilman, D., Crain, J., Ellsworth, D., Tjoekler, M., Lee, T., Wedin, D., Naeem, S., Behauddin, D., Hendrey, G., Jose, S., Wrage, K., Goth, J., Bengston, W. 2001. Plant Diversity Enhances Ecosystem Responses to Elevated Co2 and Nitrogen Deposition. Nature. 410:809-812.
Reich, P.D., Petersen, D.W., Wedin, D.A., Wragge, K. 2001. Fire and vegetation effects on productivity and nitrogen cycling across a forest-grassland continuum. Ecology. 81:1703-1719. Online
Tilman, D., Reich, P., Knops, J., Wedin, D., Mielke, T., Lehman, C. 2001. Diversity and Productivity in a Long-term Grassland Experiment. Science. 294:843-845. Online
Gholz, H.L, Wedin, D.A. Smitherman, S., Harmon, M., Parton, W.J. 2000. Long-term dynamics of pine and hardwood litter in contrasting environments: toward a global model of decomposition. Global Change Biology. 6:751-766. Online
Wedin, D.A. 1999. Nitrogen availability, plant-soil feedbacks and grassland stability. roceedings of the VI International Rangeland Congress (1): 193-197. Online
Johnson, N.C. and D.A. Wedin 1997. Soil carbon, nutrients, and mycorrhizae during conversion of a dry tropical forest to grassland. Ecological Applications. 7:171-182. Online
Wedin, D.A. and D. Tilman 1996. Influence of nitrogen loading and species composition on the carbon balance of grasslands. Science. 27:1720-1723.

Educational Background

  • BS - St. Olaf College, Biology (1981)
  • PhD - University of Minnesota, Ecology (1990)


  • 1/30/15 – UNL Parents Association Recognition Award awarded by UNL Parents Association 

SNR Program Area(s)

  • Applied Ecology

Notable Websites

Areas of Interest

  • Coordinator - Sandhills Biocomplexity Project
  • Various projects at the Nebraska National Forest (Halsey, NE)
  • Ecological studies using stable isotopes
  • Ecosystem science
  • Forest / grassland ecology
  • Plant-soil interactions
  • Carbon and nitrogen cycling
  • Ecohydrology
  • Urban Forestry
  • Landscape Ecology

Currently this page only displays grants that were awarded on 1/1/2009 to the present. If a grant was awarded prior to 1/1/2009 and is still active, it will not be displayed on this page.

Grant Title Ponderosa Pine on the Edge
Starting Date 10/1/2015
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Dirac Twidwell, Jr.
Ending Date 9/30/2020
Funding Level $373,900.00
Funding Source Agricultural Research Division - McIntire Stennis

Grant Title Effects of Compaction and Soil Moisture on American Burying Beetles
Starting Date 3/4/2015
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Leon Higley
Ending Date 12/31/2015
Funding Level $33,372.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Roads

Grant Title Burying Beetle Occurrence Model
Starting Date 8/1/2014
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Leon Higley
Ending Date 12/31/2015
Funding Level $74,148.00
Funding Source Nebraska Department of Roads

Grant Title Learning from the 2012 Niobrara Fire
Starting Date 6/5/2013
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Walt Schacht
Dirac Twidwell Jr.
Ending Date 8/31/2015
Funding Level $132,050.00
Funding Source Nature Conservancy

Grant Title Methane Uptake by Grassland Soils (additional funding)
Starting Date 4/15/2011
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Ending Date 3/31/2015
Funding Level $13,165.00
Funding Source Colorado State University

Grant Title Methane Uptake by Grassland Soils: Biogeochemistry, Microbial Ecology and Integrative Modeling (additional funding)
Starting Date 4/15/2011
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Ending Date 3/31/2015
Funding Level $12,871.00
Funding Source CU

Grant Title Methane Uptake by Grassland Soils: Biogeochemistry, Microbial Ecology and Integrative Modeling
Starting Date 4/15/2011
Principal Investigators
Dave Wedin
Ending Date 3/31/2015
Funding Level $12,587.00
Funding Source CU


Undergraduate Majors Bachelor of Science in
  • Fisheries & Wildlife
  • Grassland Ecology & Management
  • Pre-Natural Resources
Graduate Program(s)

Master of Science in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Doctor of Philosophy in Natural Resource Sciences

including specializations in
  • Applied Ecology

Courses Taught
Course Number Course Title Fall Even Years Fall Odd Years Spring Even Years Spring Odd Years Summer Session Cross Listing
NRES 310 Introduction to Forest Management X X n/a
NRES 424 Forest Ecology X NRES 424/824
NRES 438 Grassland Conservation: Planning and Management X X n/a
NRES 824 Forest Ecology X NRES 424/824
NRES 838 Grassland Conservation: Planning and Management X X n/a