Benjamin Sullivan

Photo of Benjamin Sullivan

Assistant Professor

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Science
University of Nevada/Mail Stop 186
1664 N. Virginia Street
Reno,  Nevada   89557

Office: (775) 784-6374
Building: Max Fleischmann Agriculture,  Office 132A
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B.S. University of Montana, 2002
M.S. Northern Arizona University, 2007
Ph.D. Northern Arizona University, 2011


Osborne, B. B., Nasto, M. K., Asner, G. P., Balzotti, C. S., Cleveland, C. C., Sullivan, B. W., Taylor, P. G., Townsend, A. R., Porder, S. 2017, Climate, Topography, and Canopy Chemistry Exert Hierarchical Control Over Soil N Cycling in a Neotropical Lowland Forest, Ecosystems View item.
Cleveland, C. C., Taylor, P., Chadwick, K. D., Doughty, C., Malhi, Y., Smith, W. K., Sullivan, B. W., Wieder, W. R., Townsend, A. R. 2015, A comparison of plot-based, satellite and Earth system model estimates of tropical NPP., Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 29(5), 626–644.
Sullivan, B. W., Nasto, M. K., Hart, S. C., Hungate, B. A. 2015, Proximate controls on semiarid soil greenhouse gas fluxes across 3 million years of soil development., Biogeochemistry, 125(3), 375-391.
Sullivan, B.W., S. Alvarez-Clare, S.C. Castle, S. Porder, S. Reed, L. Schreeg, A. Townsend, C.C. Cleveland. 2014, Assessing nutrient limitation in complex forested ecosystems: Alternatives to large-scale fertilization experiments., Ecology 95 (3). 668-681 View item.
Nasto, M.K., S. Alvarez-Clare, Y. Lekberg, B.W. Sullivan, A.R. Townsend, C.C. Cleveland. 2014, Interactions among nitrogen fixation and soil phosphorus acquisition strategies in lowland tropical rain forests, Ecology Letters 17(10): 1282–1289. View item.

Paradoxically, symbiotic dinitrogen (N2) fixers are abundant in nitrogen (N)-rich, phosphorus (P)-poor lowland tropical rain forests. One hypothesis to explain this pattern states that N2 fixers have an advantage in acquiring soil P by producing more N-rich enzymes (phosphatases) that mineralise organic P than non-N2 fixers. We assessed soil and root phosphatase activity between fixers and non-fixers in two lowland tropical rain forest sites, but also addressed the hypothesis that arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) colonisation (another P acquisition strategy) is greater on fixers than non-fixers. Root phosphatase activity and AM colonisation were higher for fixers than non-fixers, and strong correlations between AM colonisation and N2 fixation at both sites suggest that the N–P interactions mediated by fixers may generally apply across tropical forests. We suggest that phosphatase enzymes and AM fungi enhance the capacity of N2 fixers to acquire soil P, thus contributing to their high abundance in tropical forests.

Sullivan, B.W., W.K. Smith, A.R. Townsend, M.K. Nasto, S.C. Reed, R. Chazdon, C.C. Cleveland 2014, Spatially robust estimates of biological nitrogen (N) fixation imply substantial human alteration of the tropical N cycle., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111 (22), 8101-8106. View item.
Sullivan, B.W., P.C. Selmants, S.C. Hart. 2013, Does dissolved organic carbon regulate biological methane oxidation in semiarid soils?, Global Change Biology 19 (7), 2149-2157. View item.
Sullivan, B.W., S.C. Hart. 2013, Evaluation of mechanisms controlling the priming of soil carbon along a substrate age gradient., Soil Biology and Biochemistry 58, 293-301. View item.
Looney, C.L., B.W. Sullivan, J.M. Kane, T.E. Kolb, S.C. Hart. 2012, Effects of water additions on pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) water relations, growth, and mortality across a three million year old soil age gradient in northern Arizona, USA., Plant and Soil 357, 89-102.
Sullivan, B and Drew, M 2016, Carbon Sequestration Monitoring Equipment Demo, View item.