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Rich Norby

Environmental Sciences Division, ORNL


Dr. Richard J. Norby is a Corporate Research Fellow in the Environmental Sciences Division and member of the Climate Change Science Institute of the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is a physiological ecologist with interests in tree growth, forest ecology, carbon and nitrogen cycling, and ecosystem responses to atmospheric and climatic change. He has been conducting experiments on the responses of trees and forests to elevated atmospheric CO2 since 1982, with an emphasis on belowground responses. He currently is the task leader for Sphagnum research on a new, large-scale manipulation experiment in a spruce peat bog in northern Minnesota ) and task leader for (Vegetation Dynamics in the Next Generation Ecosystem Experiment in the Arctic). Norby was the principal investigator of the Oak Ridge Free-Air CO2 Enrichment (FACE) Experiment and the Old-field Community Climate and Atmosphere Manipulation experiment. Through his involvement in a NCEAS working group, “Benchmarking Ecosystem Response Models with Experimental Data from Long-term CO2 Enrichment Experiments”, the Global Change and Terrestrial Ecosystems project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme, and the NSF network project Terrestrial Ecosystems Response to Atmospheric and Climatic Change, Norby has had a strong interest in fostering cross-disciplinary global change research and improved communication between experimentalists and modelers.

Norby has a B.A. in chemistry from Carleton College and a Ph.D. in Forestry and Botany from the University of Wisconsin. He is a member of the Ecological Society of America and the American Geophysical Union, and in 1995 he was elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Norby serves as an editor of New Phytologist, is a member of the Board of the New Phytologist Trust, and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Plant Ecology. He also is an adjunct professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville. Norby is the author or co-author of 150 journal articles and book chapters, which have been cited more than 7700 times. He was recognized with an Outstanding Mentor Award by the U. S. Department of Energy Office of Science in 2007, the UT-Battelle Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Science and Technology in 2004, and the Scientific Achievement Award of the Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1992.


Norby RJ, Warren JM, Iversen CM, Medlyn BE, McMurtrie RE. 2010. CO2 enhancement of forest productivity constrained by limited nitrogen availability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences107: 19368-19373.

Classen AT, Norby RJ, Campany CE, Sides KE, Weltzin JF. 2010. Climate change alters seedling emergence and establishment in an old-field ecosystem. PLoS ONE  5: e13476.

Iversen CM, Ledford J, Norby RJ. 2008. CO2 enrichment increases carbon and nitrogen input from fine roots in a deciduous forest. New Phytologist 179: 837-847. 

McMurtrie RE, Norby RJ, Medlyn BE, Dewar RC, Pepper DA, Reich PB, Barton CVM. 2008. Why is plant-growth response to elevated CO2 amplified when water is limiting but reduced when nitrogen is limiting? A growth-optimisation hypothesis. Functional Plant Biology 35: 521-534.

Finzi AC, Norby RJ, Calfapietra C, Gallet-Budynek A, Gielen B, Holmes WE, Hoosbeek MR, Iversen CM, Jackson RB, Kubiske ME, Ledford J, Liberloo M, Oren R, Polle A, Pritchard S, Zak DR, Schlesinger WH, Ceulemans R. 2007. Increases in nitrogen uptake rather than nitrogen-use efficiency support higher rates of temperate forest productivity under elevated CO2. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences104: 14014-14019.

Norby RJ, Iversen CM. 2006. Nitrogen uptake, distribution, turnover, and efficiency of use in a CO2-enriched sweetgum forest. Ecology 87:5-14.

Norby RJ, DeLucia EH, Gielen B, Calfapietra C, Giardina CP,King JS, Ledford J, McCarthy HR, Moore DJP, Ceulemans R, De Angelis P, Finzi AC, Karnosky DF, Kubiske ME, Lukac M, Pregitzer KS, Scarascia-Mugnozza GE, Schlesinger WH, Oren R. 2005. Forest response to elevated CO2 is conserved across a broad range of productivity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 102: 18052-18056.

Norby RJ, Ledford J, Reilly CD, Miller NE, O’Neill EG. 2004. Fine root production dominates response of a deciduous forest to atmospheric CO2 enrichment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101: 9689-9693.

Norby, R. J., C. A. Gunderson, S. D. Wullschleger, E. G. O'Neill, and M. K. McCracken. 1992. Productivity and compensatory responses of yellow-poplar trees in elevated CO2. Nature 357:322-324.

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