October 15, 2014
Dr. Lewis Ziska, USDA-ARS
The ongoing increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide will have abiotic and biotic effects through changes in surface temperatures, and direct stimulation of plant growth. These effects in turn, will alter the establishment, distribution, and impact of biological pests, (insects, disease, and weeds). Such impacts are likely to alter both the productivity and sustainability of managed eco-systems, as in agriculture or forestry, but also less managed systems (grasslands, wetlands) through changes in the biology of invasive species. Recent research has focused on increasing our understanding of the basis for expected and observed changes in both native and exotic pest species with CO2 and climate change; the probable impacts to agricultural productivity and natural habitat; and the consequences regarding the detection and management of these changes.
Dr. Ziska has published over 100 peer-reviewed research articles related to climate change and rising carbon dioxide. His diverse research interests have included agriculture and food security, weeds and weed management, invasive species, plant biology, and public health. Dr. Ziska is a recent contributor to the 2014 International Panel on Climate Change report (Food Security Chapter) and the 2014 National Climate Assessment. His work has been featured in the popular media including USA Today, CBS Nightly News, National Geographic, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. In 2010, Esquire magazine honored Dr. Ziska with the Best and Brightest award.