Douglas A. Frank

Professor, Biology

Research and Teaching Interests

Plant/ecosystem ecology with emphasis on plant-herbivore interactions 

Effects of climate and grazing mammals on energy and nutrient processes in grasslands.  Rhizospheric processes.  The structure of grassland root communities.  Effects of climate change on ecosystem carbon storage.  Top-down vs bottom control of ecosystem dynamics.


  • M.S., University of Washington (1983)
  • Ph.D., Syracuse University (1990)
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Idaho State University (1991-1993)


  • BIO 400 Global Change Biology Lab
  • BIO 451 General Ecology
  • BIO 453 Ecology Lab

Selected Publications

Chuckran P, Frank D.A. 2013. Herbivores regulate the sensitivity of soil organic carbon decomposition to warming. Environmental Research Letters 044013. IOP Science Select Article and featured on the Environmental Research Website

Frank, D.A. and Groffman, P.M. 2009. Plant rhizospheric N processes: what we don't know and why we should care. Ecology 90: 1512-1519.

Frank DA. 2008. Evidence for top predator control of a grazing ecosystem. Oikos 117:1718-1724.

Frank DA. 2008. Ungulate and topographic control of N : P stoichiometry in a temperate grassland: soils, plants, and mineralization rates. Oikos 117

Frank, D.A. 2007. Drought effects on above and below ground production of a grazed temperate grassland ecosystem. Oecologia 152: 131-139.

Frank, D. A., S. J. McNaughton, and B. Tracy. 1998. The ecology of the earth's grazing ecosystems. Bioscience 48: 513-521.

Research Spotlight


The Frank Lab studies and explores factors that regulate the structure, species composition, biodiversity and energy, and nutrient metabolisms in terrestrial ecosystems. The lab utilizes field and laboratory experiments. In the field, he and his team erect ungulate enclosures to create an un-grazed treatment and then compare plant growth and soil processes in grazed versus un-grazed grasslands. In the lab, experiments are conducted in the greenhouse or environmental chambers to determine how mycorrhizae, nutrient availability, and soil microbial composition and diversity may mediate the effect of grazing on plant growth.