Skip Navigation

OU Biologist Receives $1.2 Million NSF Grant in Support of Ecological Research at Continental Scales

OU Public Affairs WebsiteOU homepagePublic Affairs homepage
Skip Side Navigation
Michael Kaspari

OU Biologist Receives $1.2 Million NSF Grant in Support of Ecological Research at Continental Scales

Norman--A University of Oklahoma biology professor, Michael E. Kaspari, has been awarded a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant to study MacroSystems ecology—exploring how Earth’s temperature, precipitation and biogeochemistry govern the abundance, diversity and activity of ecological communities. Kaspari will test these models by generating the first standardized field data from entire communities of ground dwelling arthropods—an invertebrate animal having an exoskeleton, a segmented body and paired jointed appendages.

“Community data at continental extents are sparse and restricted to a few taxa. They vastly underrepresent the terrestrial arthropods—perhaps the most diverse and abundant animal group—in part due to the immense effort required to count, size and identify taxa ranging from mites to ants to beetles to spiders,” said Kaspari.

Kaspari will lead the project, “MSB-FRA: Testing abiotic drivers of activity, abundance and diversity of ground-dwelling arthropod communities at a continental scale,” from August 15, 2017 to July 31, 2021, with colleagues from the new OU Geographical Ecology group: Katie Marshall, Matthew J. Miller and Michael D. Weiser, Department of Biology, OU College of Arts and Sciences; and Cameron Siler, Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. The NSF grant is one of 10 new awards in support of ecological research at regional to continental scales.

The few existing data suggest that as one travels from deserts to rainforests, terrestrial arthropod communities vary dramatically. By understanding the sources of this variation, Kaspari’s group hopes to better understand how arthropods regulate ecosystem services like decomposition and seed dispersal. The new dataset will build a baseline for predicting and monitoring changes in communities, including the spread of invasive species, over the next 30 years.

For more information about this project, contact Michael E. Kaspari at


# # #

Recent News

OU Norman Campus to Close For Maintenance March 19-20

NORMAN - Due to a request by OG&E to perform significant electrical maintenance work, the Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma will close on Monday, March 19 and Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Read more

OU to Host Fifth Annual Conference for First-Generation and Minority Students

NORMAN – The Office of University Community at the University of Oklahoma will host its fifth annual George McLaurin and Sylvia A. Lewis Leadership Conference, a program aimed at connecting OU with talented first-generation and minority students. Read more

OU Board of Regents Elects Bennett, Rainbolt-Forbes as Officers

NORMAN — Clayton I. Bennett of Oklahoma City has been re-elected as chairman of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents and Leslie Rainbolt-Forbes, M.D., has been re-elected as vice chairman of the board. Read more

James Pappas Admin Building Dedicated

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma today dedicated the James P. Pappas University Outreach Administration Building located at 1700 Asp Ave.  Read more

Dean Rick Luce Announces Plans to Retire

NORMAN – Following a long and distinguished career in libraries, Rick Luce, University of Oklahoma Libraries’ dean, professor and Peggy V. Helmerich chair, and associate vice president for research, is announcing his retirement, effective July 1, 2018. Read more

Drama School Alumna Earns Recognition

NORMAN — Paige Hathaway, 2011 graduate of the bachelor of fine arts scenic design program in the University of Oklahoma Helmerich School of Drama, earned the 2018 Rising Star Award, presentedby the United States Institute for Theatre Technology. The Rising Star Award, established by LDI and Live Design Magazine, recognizes excellence and artistic achievement in the areas of scenic, lighting, sound and projection design, or the convergence of these design disciplines. Read More

OU Residential Colleges Recognized As Outstanding Development Project

NORMAN — The University of Oklahoma’s Residential Colleges recently won the “Large Scale Development” category in the Urban Land Institute Oklahoma’s fourth annual Impact Awards held at the Tower Theater in Oklahoma City.   Read More

OU Professor Elected as Fellow of Ecological Society of America

NORMAN —A University of Oklahoma professor, Jizhong Zhou, has been elected as a 2018 Fellow of the Ecological Society of America for outstanding accomplishments in environmental genomics and microbial ecology. Zhou and other ESA fellows will be recognized during the society’s annual meeting in New Orleans, Aug. 5-10. Read More

News Archives

2017  | 2016  | 2015  | 2014  |  2013  

For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or

2017 News Archives

For requests for past releases, please contact OU Public Affairs at (405) 325-1701 or