Professional and Biographical Information
Ph.D., University of Alaska Fairbanks (2014)
B.A., Middlebury College (2005)
My research focuses on how species traits and interactions shape community structure and ecosystem function. I primarily study how fine-scale belowground processes contribute to broad-scale ecosystem responses to a warming climate and associated changes in disturbance regimes. I focus on investigating the role of plant-fungal interactions in carbon and nitrogen cycling, community assembly after disturbance, and landscape patterns of vegetation change. I explore these research themes primarily in Arctic tundra and boreal ecosystems of Alaska and Siberia (research overview).
I aim to help students explore the most important environmental issues of our time. In order to think critically about our natural environment and social-ecological systems, it is critical for students to have a strong understanding of environmental science. In the courses I teach, students will attain an array of scientific skills to study the natural environment. I focus on building critical thinking to facilitate student engagement in environmental studies, whether that is through scientific inquiry, political engagement, or contributing to current environmental discourse.
- Ballhausen, M., Hewitt, R.E. & Rillig, M.C. Mimicking climate warming effects on Alaskan soil microbial communities via gradual temperature increase. Scientific Reports 10, 8533 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65329-x
- McLauchlan, K. et al. (44 authors including R.E. Hewitt). In press. “Fire as a fundamental ecological process: research advances and frontiers.” Journal of Ecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13403
- Hewitt, R.E., M.R. DeVan, I. Lagutina, H. Genet, A.D. McGuire, D.L. Taylor, and M.C. Mack. 2020. “Mycobiont contribution to tundra plant acquisition of permafrost-derived nitrogen” New Phytologist, 226: 126-141. DOI:10.1111/nph.16235 (See also the commentary on this article by Robinson et al., (2020), 226: 8–10.)
- Ellison, S.E., P. Sullivan, S. Cahoon, and R.E. Hewitt. 2019. “Poor nutrition as a potential cause of divergent tree growth near the Arctic treeline in northern Alaska.” Ecology, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2878
- Hewitt, R.E., D.L. Taylor, H. Genet, A.D. McGuire, and M.C Mack. 2018. “Below-ground plant traits influence tundra plant acquisition of newly thawed permafrost nitrogen.” Journal of Ecology, 00:1–13. https://doi.org/10.1111/1365-2745.13062
- Bjorkman A.D., et al. (many co-authors including R.E. Hewitt). 2018. “Tundra Trait Team: A database of plant traits spanning the tundra biome.” Global Ecology and Biogeography, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/geb.12821
- Hewitt, R.E., D.L. Taylor, T.N. Hollingsworth, C.B. Anderson, and G. Martínez Pastur. 2018. “Variable retention harvesting influences belowground plant-fungal interactions of Nothofagus pumilio seedlings in forests of southern Patagonia.” PeerJ, 6:e5008.
- Djukic, I. et al. (many co-authors including R.E. Hewitt). 2018. “Early stage litter decomposition across biomes.” Science of the Total Environment, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.01.012
- Hewitt, R.E., F.S. Chapin III, T.N. Hollingsworth, and D.L. Taylor. 2017. “The potential for mycobiont sharing between shrubs and seedlings to facilitate tree establishment after wildfire at Alaska arctic treeline.” Molecular Ecology, DOI: 10.1111/mec.14143.
- Hewitt, R.E., T.N. Hollingsworth, F.S. Chapin III, and D.L. Taylor. 2016. “Fire-severity effects on plant-fungal interactions after a novel tundra wildfire disturbance: implications for arctic shrub and tree migration.” BMC Ecology. DOI: 10.1186/s12898-016-0075-y
- Hewitt, R.E., A.P. Bennett, A.L. Breen, T.N. Hollingsworth, D.L. Taylor, F.S. Chapin III, and T.S. Rupp. 2015. “Getting to the root of the matter: landscape implications of plant-fungal interactions for tree migration in Alaska.” Landscape Ecology, DOI: 10.1007/s10980-015-0306-1
- Hewitt, R.E., E. Bent, T.N. Hollingsworth, F.S. Chapin III, and D.L. Taylor. 2013. “Resilience of arctic mycorrhizal fungal communities after wildfire facilitated by resprouting shrubs.” Ecoscience, 20:296-310. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2980/20-3-3620
- Hewitt, R.E., and E.S. Menges. 2008. “Allelopathic effects of Ceratiola ericoides (Empetraceae) on germination and survival of six Florida scrub species.” Plant Ecology, 198:47-59. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11258-007-9384-8