Faculty/Staff Directory

Robert Hollister

Photo of Robert Hollister


Associate Professor


Office Address
3390K Kindschi Hall of Science

Office Phone

Areas of Expertise
Ecology, Botany, Polar Systems, Wetland Ecology, Global Change Biology

Professional Societies

American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Geophysical Union
Ecological Society of America

Courses Taught at GVSU

BIO 105 Environmental Science
BIO 109 Plants in the world
BIO 120 General Biology I
BIO 215 General Ecology
BIO 243 Plant Identification & Natural History
BIO 323 Aquatic & Wetland Plants
BIO 573 Plants of the Great Lakes Region

Research Interests

My research and teaching interests are broad. I am an ecologist interested in the interactions between humans and natural ecosystems. While my area or expertise is vegetation change, I am always interested in taking on new student led projects. Locally I am interested in Michigan Wetlands. Most of my research is in northern Alaska examining the influence of climate change and land use change on tundra ecosystems. I also have experience working with Tropical Dry Forests of Puerto Rico and Water Quality Monitoring in Indiana.

My research in Michigan Wetlands involves collaborations and student led activities sampling vegetation. My research in Alaska is funded by the National Science Foundation. This long-term project uses small chambers to experimentally warm plots of vegetation in an attempt to simulate future climate change. We monitor the response of the plant species and a few ecosystem parameters. The research takes place in Barrow and Atqasuk, Alaska. This work is in close collaboration with the International Tundra Experiment (ITEX). The results from this work are being used to better forecast vegetation change in the Arctic.

For more details see my research webpage: http://faculty.gvsu.edu/hollistr/


Ph.D. Plant Biology / Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior, Michigan State University, 2003.
M.S. Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University, 1998.
B.S. Lyman Briggs Zoology with Honor, Michigan State University, 1994.

Select Publications

Note: GVSU students in bold italics.

Lara, M.J., D.R. Johnson, C. Andresen, R.D. Hollister, C.E. Tweedie.  In Press.  Peak season carbon exchange shifts from a sink to a source following 50+ years of herbivore exclusion in an Arctic tundra ecosystem.  Journal of Ecology.

Walker, D.A., A.L. Breen, L.A. Druckenmiller, L.W. Wirth, W. Fisher, M.K. Raynolds, J. Šibík, M.D. Walker, S. Hennekens, K. Boggs, T. Boucher, M. Buchhorn, H. Bültmann, D.J. Cooper, F.J.A. Daniëls, S.J. Davidson, J.J. Ebersole, S.C. Elmendorf, H.E. Epstein, W.A. Gould, R.D. Hollister, M.T. Jorgenson, A. Kade, M.T. Lee, W.H. MacKenzie, R.K. Peet, J.L. Peirce, U. Schickhoff, V.L. Sloan, S.S. Talbot, C.E. Tweedie, S. Villarreal, P.J. Webber, D. Zona.  In Press.  The Alaska Arctic Vegetation Archive (AK-AVA).  Phytocoenologia.

Barrett, R.T.S., and R.D. Hollister.  2016.  Arctic plants are capable of sustained responses to long-term warming.  Polar Research 35: 25405 doi:10.3402/polar.v35.25405 1-9.

Healey, N.C., S.F. Oberbauer, and R.D. Hollister.  2016.  Examination of surface temperature modification by Open-Top Chambers along moisture and latitudinal gradients in arctic Alaska using thermal infrared photography.  Remote Sensing 8(1): 54 doi:10.3390/rs8010054 1-19.

Barrett, R.T.S.R.D. Hollister, S.F. Oberbauer, and C.E. Tweedie.  2015.  Arctic plant responses to changing abiotic factors in northern Alaska.  American Journal of Botany 102(12): 2020-2031.

Hollister, R.D., J.L. May, K.S. Kremers, C.E. Tweedie, S.F. Oberbauer, J.A. Liebig, T.F. Botting, R.T. Barrett, and J.L. Gregory.  2015.  Warming experiments elucidate the drivers of observed directional changes in tundra vegetation.  Ecology and Evolution 5(9): 1881-1895.

Kremers, K.S., R.D. Hollister, and S.F. Oberbauer.  2015.  Diminished response of arctic plants to warming over time.  Plos One 10(3): e0116586 1-13.

Elmendorf, S.C., G.H.R. Henry, R.D. Hollister, A.M. Fosaa, W.A. Gould, L. Hermanutz, A. Hofgaard, I.I. Jónsdóttir, J.C. Jorgenson, E. Lévesque, B. Magnusson, U. Molau, I.H. Myers-Smith, S.F. Oberbauer, C. Rixen, C.E. Tweedie, and M. Walker.  2014.  Experiment, monitoring, and gradient methods used to infer climate change effects on plant communities yield consistent patterns.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS) 112(2): 448-452.  

Healey, N.C., S.F. Oberbauer, H.E. Ahrends, D. Dierick, J.M. Welker, A.J. Leffler, R.D. Hollister, S.A. Vargas, and C.E. Tweedie.  2014.  A mobile instrumented sensor platform for long-term terrestrial ecosystem analysis: An example application in an arctic tundra ecosystem.  Journal of Environmental Informatics 24(1): 1-10.

Oberbauer, S.F., S.C. Elmendorf, T.G. Troxler, R.D. Hollister, A.V. Rocha, M.S. Bret-Harte, M.A. Dawes, A.M. Fosaa, G.H.R. Henry, T.T. Høye, F.C. Jarrad, I.S. Jónsdóttir, K. Klanderud, J.A. Klein, U. Molau, C. Rixen, N.M. Schmidt, G.R. Shaver, R.T. Slider, Ø. Totland, C.-H. Wahren, and J.M. Welker.  2013.  Phenological response of tundra plants to background climate variation tested using the International Tundra Experiment.  Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 368(1624): 20120481 1-13.

Bokhorst, S., A. Huiskes, R. Aerts, P. Convey, E.J. Cooper, L. Dalen, B. Erschbamer, J. Gudmundsson, A. Hofgaard, R.D. Hollister, J. Johnstone, I.S. Jónsdóttir, M. Lebouvier, B. Van De Vijver, C.-H. Wahren, And E. Dorrepaal.  2013.  Variable temperature effects of Open Top Chambers at polar and alpine sites explained by irradiance and snow depth.  Global Change Biology 19(1): 64-74.

May, J.L. and R.D. Hollister.  2012.  Validation of a simplified point frame method to detect change in tundra vegetation.  Polar Biology 35(12): 1815-1823.

Elmendorf, S.C., G.H.R. Henry, R.D. Hollister, R.G. Björk, N. Boulanger-Lapointe, E.J. Cooper, J.H.C. Cornelissen, T.A. Day, E. Dorrepaal, T.G. Elumeeva, M. Gill, W.A. Gould, J. Harte, D.S. Hik, A. Hofgaard, D.R. Johnson, J.F. Johnstone, I.S. Jónsdóttir, J.C. Jorgenson, K. Klanderud, J.A. Klein, S. Koh, G. Kudo, M. Lara, E. Lévesque, B. Magnússon, J.L. May, J.A. Mercado-Díaz, A. Michelsen, U. Molau, I.H. Myers-Smith, S.F. Oberbauer, V.G. Onipchenko, C. Rixen, N.M. Schmidt, G.R. Shaver, M.J. Spasojevic, Þ.E. Þórhallsdottir, A. Tolvanen, T. Troxler, C.E. Tweedie, S. Villareal, C.H. Wahren, X. Walker, P.J. Webber, J.M. Welker, and S. Wipf.  2012.  Plot-scale evidence of tundra vegetation change and links to recent summer warming.  Nature Climate Change 2(6): 453-457.

Elmendorf, S.C., G.H.R. Henry, R.D. Hollister, R.G. Bjork, A.D. Bjorkman, T.V. Callaghan, L.S. Collier, E.J. Cooper, J.H.C. Cornelissen, T.A. Day, A.M. Fosaa, W.A. Gould, J. Grétarsdóttir, J. Harte, L. Hermanutz, D.S. Hik, A. Hofgaard, F. Jarrad, I.S. Jónsdóttir, F. Keuper, K. Klanderud, J.A. Klein, S. Koh, G. Kudo, S.I. Lang, V. Loewen, J.L. May, J. Mercado, A. Michelsen, U. Molau, I.H. Myers-Smith, S.F. Oberbauer, S. Pieper, E. Post, C. Rixen, C.H. Robinson, N.M. Schmidt, G.R. Shaver, A. Stenström, A. Tolvanen, Ø. Totland, T. Troxler, C.H. Wahren, P.J. Webber, J.M. Welker, and P.A. Wookey.  2012.  Global assessment of experimental climate warming on tundra vegetation: Heterogeneity over space and time.  Ecology Letters 15(2): 164-175.

Villarreal, S., R.D. Hollister, D.R. Johnson, M.J. Lara, P.J. Webber, and C.E. Tweedie.  2012.  Tundra vegetation change near Barrow, Alaska (1972-2010).  Environmental Research Letters 7(015508): 1-10.

Lara, M.J., S. Villarreal, D.R. Johnson, R.D. Hollister, P.J. Webber, and C.E. Tweedie.  2012.  Estimated change in tundra ecosystem function near Barrow, Alaska between 1972 and 2010.  Environmental Research Letters 7(015507): 1-10.

Liljedahl, A.K., L.D. Hinzman, Y. Harazono, D. Zona, C.E. Tweedie, R.D. Hollister, R. Engstrom, and W.C. Oechel.  2011.  Nonlinear controls on evapotranspiration in arctic coastal wetlands.  Biogeosciences 8(11): 3375–3389.

Shiklomanov, N.I., D.A. Streletskiy, F.E. Nelson, R.D. Hollister, V.E. Romanovsky, E. Vladimir, C.E. Tweedie, J.G. Bockheim, and J. Brown.  2010.  Decadal variations of active-layer thickness in moisture-controlled landscapes, Barrow, Alaska.  Journal of Geophysical Research-Biogeosciences 115(G00I04): 1-14.

Hollister, R.D. and K.J. Flaherty.  2010.  Above and belowground plant biomass response to experimental warming in Northern Alaska.  Applied Vegetation Science 13(3): 378-387.

Huemmrich, K.F., J.A. Gamon, C.E. Tweedie, S.F. Oberbauer, G. Kinoshita, S. Houston, A. Kuchy, R.D. Hollister, H. Kwon, M. Mano, Y. Harazono, P.J. Webber, and W.C. Oechel.  2010.  Remote sensing of tundra gross ecosystem productivity and light use efficiency under varying temperature and moisture conditions. Remote Sensing of Environment 114(3):481-489.

Oberbauer, S.F., C.E. Tweedie, J.M. Welker, J.T. Fahnestock, G.H.R. Henry, P.J. Webber, R.D. Hollister, M.D. Walker, A. Kuchy, and G. Starr.  2007.  Carbon dioxide exchange responses of arctic tundra ecosystems to experimental warming along moisture and latitudinal gradients.  Ecological Monographs 77(2):221-238.

Hollister, R.D., P.J. Webber, F.E. Nelson, and C.E. Tweedie.  2006.  Soil thaw and temperature response to air warming varies by plant community: Results from an open-top chamber experiment in northern Alaska.  Arctic Antarctic and Alpine Research 38(2):206-215.

Walker, M.D., C.H. Wahren, R.D. Hollister, G.H.R. Henry, L.E. Ahlquist, J.M. Alatalo, M.S. Bret-Harte, M.P. Calef, T.V. Callaghan, A.B. Carroll, H.E. Epstein, I.S. Jónsdóttir, J.A. Klein, B. Magnússon, U. Molau, S.F. Oberbauer, S.P. Rewa, C.H. Robinson, G.R. Shaver, K.N. Suding, C.C. Thompson, A. Tolvanen, Ø. Totland, P.L. Turner, C.E. Tweedie, P.J. Webber, and P.A. Wookey.  2006.  Plant Community Responses to Experimental Warming Across the Tundra Biome.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS) 103(5): 1342-1346.  

Hollister, R.D., P.J. Webber, and C. Bay.  2005.  Plant response to temperature in northern Alaska: Implications for predicting vegetation change.  Ecology 86(6): 1562-1570.

Hinzman, L.D, N. Bettez, F. S. Chapin III, M.B. Dyurgerov, C.L. Fastie, B. Griffith, R.D. Hollister, A.S. Hope, H.P. Huntington, A. Jensen, D.L. Kane, A.H. Lynch, A. Lloyd, A. D. McGuire, F.E. Nelson, W.C. Oechel, T.E. Osterkamp, C.H. Racine, V.E. Romanovsky, D. Stow, M. Sturm, C.E. Tweedie, G.L. Vourlitis, M.D. Walker, P.J. Webber, J.M. Welker, K. Winker, and K. Yoshikawa.  2005.  Evidence and implications of recent climate change in terrestrial regions of the Arctic.  Climatic Change 72(3): 251-298.

Hollister, R.D., P.J. Webber, and C.E. Tweedie.  2005.  The response of Alaskan arctic tundra to experimental warming: Differences between short- and long-term responses.  Global Change Biology 11(4): 525-536.

Rustad, L.E., J. Campbell, G.M. Marion, R.J. Norby, M.J. Mitchell, A.E. Hartley, J. H.C. Cornelissen, J. Gurevitch, and GCTE-NEWS [R. Alward, C. Beier, S. Bridgham, J. Canadell, T. Christensen, S. Duke, J. Fahnestock,  I. Fernandez, J. Harte, G. Henry, R. Hollister, J. Hom, M. Johnson,  S. Jonasson, S. Linder, A. Lukewille, G. Masters, J. Melillo, C. Neill, D. Olszyk, K. Pregitzer, P. Rygiewiez, O. Sala, G. Shaver, K. Thompson, A. Thichelsan, D. Tingey, P. Verburg, D. Wall, J. Welker, R. Wright].  2001.  A meta-analysis of the response of soil respiration, net mineralization, and aboveground plant growth to experimental ecosystem warming.  Oecologia 126(4): 543-562.

Hollister, R.D. and P.J. Webber  2000.  Biotic validation of small open-top chambers in a tundra ecosystem.  Global Change Biology 6(7): 835-842.

Arft, A.M., M.D. Walker, J. Gurevitch, J.M. Alatalo, M.S. Bret-Harte, M. Dale, M. Diemer, F. Gugerli, G.H.R. Henry, M.H. Jones, R.D. Hollister, I.S. Jónsdóttir, K. Laine, E. Lévesque, G.M. Marion, U. Molau, P. Mølgaard, U. Nordenhäll, V. Raszhivin, C.H. Robinson, G. Starr, A. Stenström, M. Stenström, ø. Totland, P.L. Turner, L.J. Walker, P.J. Webber, J.M. Welker, and P.A. Wookey.  1999.  Response patterns of tundra plant species to experimental warming: a meta-analysis of the International Tundra Experiment.  Ecological Monographs 69(4): 491-511.

Recent Presentations

Walker, D. A. (Presenter & Author), Bha, U. S. (Author Only), Breen, A. L. (Author Only), Druckenmiller, L. A. (Author Only), Kade, A. (Author Only), Hollister, R. (Author Only), Murray, D. F. (Author Only), Peirce, J. L. (Author Only), Raynolds, M. K. (Author Only), Wirth, L. M. (Author Only), Daniels, F. J. (Author Only), AGU Fall Meeting, American Geophysical Union, San Francisco, CA, "A hierarchic approach for examining pan-arctic vegetation with a focus on the linkages between remote-sensing and plot-based studies: A prototype example from Toolik Lake, Alaska", Academic, National, peer-reviewed/refereed, Accepted. (December 16, 2015).

Wald, S. (Presenter (Poster)), Hollister, R. (Author Only), West Michigan Regional Undergraduate Science Research Conference, Grand Rapids, Michigan, "A site comparison in the phenological response of Arctic White Heather (Cassiope tetragona) to climate change", Academic, State, peer-reviewed/refereed, Accepted. (November 21, 2015).

Hollister, R. (Presenter & Author), Oberbauer, S. F. (Author Only), Tweedie, C. E. (Author Only), 2015 Arctic Observing Open Science Meeting, ARCUS, Seattle, Washington, "Understanding documented vegetation change in Northern Alaska", Academic, National, peer-reviewed/refereed, Accepted. (November 18, 2015).

Hollister, R. (Author Only), Integrating Arctic Plant and Microbial Ecology - 21st ITEX meeting, ITEX Network, Uppsala, Sweden, "Making sense of two decades of vegetation change at Barrow and Atqasuk", Academic, International, peer-reviewed/refereed, Accepted. (September 17, 2015).

Brecken, A. E. (Presenter & Author), Hollister, R. (Author Only), Integrating Arctic Plant and Microbial Ecology - 21st ITEX meeting, ITEX Network, Uppsala, Sweden, "The long term response of Salix rotundifolia to experimental warming", Academic, International, peer-reviewed/refereed, Accepted. (September 17, 2015).

Botting, T. F. (Presenter & Author), Hollister, R. (Author Only), Michigan Academy of Science, Arts, and Letters, Berrien Springs, Michigan, "Documenting Vegetation Cover Changes in Northern Alaska", Academic, State, peer-reviewed/refereed, Accepted. (March 13, 2015).

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