Dr. Jim Elser

James Elser is Bierman Professor of Ecology at the University of Montana and since March 2016 has been Director of UM’s Flathead Lake Biological Station at Yellow Bay. He also holds a part-time research faculty position in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University where he directs the Sustainable Phosphorus Alliance. Trained as a limnologist, Dr. Elser is best known for his work in developing and testing the theory of ecological stoichiometry, the study of the balance of energy and multiple chemical elements in ecological systems, and for his work on phosphorus sustainability.  Currently, Dr. Elser’s research focuses most intensively on Flathead Lake as well as mountain lakes of western Montana. Specific studies involve observational and experimental studies at various scales, including laboratory cultures, short-term field experiments, and sustained whole-ecosystem manipulations. Previous field sites have included the Experimental Lakes Area in Ontario, Canada; lakes of the Arctic and of Patagonia; lakes, forests, and grasslands of the upper Midwest; and desert springs in Mexico’s Chihuahuan Desert. In recognition of his research accomplishments, Dr. Elser was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2019. He has also been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and a foreign member of the Norwegian Academy of Arts and Sciences. In 2012, he received the G.E. Hutchinson Award from the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), the world’s largest scientific association dedicated to aquatic sciences. During 2014-2016, he served as ASLO’s President. Dr. Elser holds a PhD from the University of California (Davis), an MS degree from the University of Tennessee, and a BS degree from the University of Notre Dame.