Emily Grman

A photo of Emily Grman

Associate Professor

Biology; Environmental Science and Society (ENVI) Interdisciplinary Program

401V Science Complex


[email protected]


  • BS, Beloit College, 2003
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University, 2011

Interests and Expertise

I'm interested in how we can use basic ecological knowledge about communities to restore the native habitats that we value. I focus on interactions among species, their consequences for communities and ecosystems, and how humans can influence those processes (for better or worse). I focus on two main areas. 1) Interactions between prairie plants and two different groups of soil microbial mutualists: arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and rhizobia bacteria. These are typically mutualistic (where both the plant and the microbe benefit from trading resources) but can fail if particular partners are missing or in some environmental conditions. 2) The causes and consequences of dominant species abundance in restored prairies. Big bluestem is a desirable native grass in prairie restorations, but for reasons we don't yet fully understand it can be too abundant and suppress diversity. Both of these issues are sensitive to human influence including global change. I'm working to test mechanistic hypotheses about the causes and consequences of new plant communities induced by global change and use this information to successfully restore natural habitats.


  • BIO 310 Ecology
  • BIO 311W Ecology Laboratory
  • ENVI 305W Dynamics of Ecosystem Restoration
  • BIO 414 Community Ecology

Publications and Presentations

Catano, CP, TJ Bassett, JT Bauer, E Grman, AM Groves, CR Zirbel, LA Brudvig. 2021. Soil resources mediate the strength of plant community convergence across grassland restorations. Journal of Applied Ecology. Accepted.

Avolio, ML, KJ Komatsu, SL Collins, E Grman, SE Koerner, AT Tredennick, KR Wilcox, S Baer, EH Boughton, A Britton, B Foster, L Gough, M Hovenden, F Isbell, A Jentsch, DS Johnson, AK Knapp, J Kreyling, A Langley, C Lortie, R McCulley, JR McLaren, PB Reich, E Seabloom, MD Smith, KN Suding, KB Suttle, P Tognetti. 2021. Determinants of plant community compositional change are equally affected by global change. Ecology Letters. Accepted.

Catano, CP, E Grman, E Behrens, LA Brudvig. 2021. Species pool size alters species-area relationships during experimental community assembly. Ecology 102:e03231. doi.org/10.1002/ecy.3231.

Grman, E, CR Zirbel, JT Bauer, AM Groves, T Bassett, LA Brudvig. 2021. Super-abundant C4 grasses are a mixed blessing in restored prairies. Restoration Ecology 29:e13281.  doi.org/10.1111/rec.13281.

Grman, E, J Allen+, E Galloway+, J McBride+, JT Bauer, PA Price. 2020. Inoculation with remnant prairie soils increased the growth of three native prairie legumes but not necessarily their associations with beneficial soil microbes. Restoration Ecology. doi.org/10.1111/rec.13126.

Komatsu, KJ, ML Avolio, NP Lemoine, F Isbell, E Grman, GR Houseman, SE Koerner, DS Johnson, KR Wilcox, . . . (67 additional authors). 2019. Global change effects on plant communities are magnified by time and the number of global change factors imposed. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 116:17867-17873. doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1819027116.

Zirbel, CR, E Grman, T Bassett, and LA Brudvig. 2019. Landscape context explains ecosystem multifunctionality in restored grasslands better than plant diversity. Ecology 100:e02634. doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2634.

Clark, TJ*, CA Friel*, E Grman, M Friesen, and Y Shachar-Hill. 2019. Unfair trade underground revealed by integrating data with Nash bargaining models. New Phytologist 222:1325-1337. doi.org/10.1111/nph.15703. (* indicates co-first authors)

Grman, E, CR Zirbel, T Bassett, and LA Brudvig. 2018. Ecosystem multifunctionality increases with beta diversity in restored prairies. Oecologia 188:837-848. doi.org/10.1007/s00442-018-4248-6.

Wilcox, KR*, AT Tredennick*, SE Koerner, E Grman, LM Hallett, ML Avolio, KJ La Pierre, GR Houseman, F Isbell, DS Johnson, . . . (34 additional authors). 2017. Asynchrony among local communities stabilizes ecosystem function of metacommunities. Ecology Letters 20:1534-1545. doi.org/10.1111/ele.12861. (* indicates co-first authors)

Clark, T, C Friel, E Grman, Y Shachar-Hill, and M Friesen. 2017. Modeling mutualisms: challenges and opportunities for data integration. Ecology Letters 20:1203-1215. doi.org/10.1111/ele.12810.

Zirbel, CR, T Bassett, E Grman, and LA Brudvig. 2017. Plant functional traits and environmental conditions shape community assembly and ecosystem functioning during restoration. Journal of Applied Ecology 54:1070-1079. doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12885.

Grman, E, T Bassett, CR Zirbel, and LA Brudvig. 2015. Dispersal and establishment filters influence the assembly of restored prairie plant communities. Restoration Ecology 23:892-899. doi.org/10.1111/rec.12271.

Avolio, ML, KJ La Pierre, GR Houseman, SE Koerner, E Grman, F Isbell, DS Johnson, and KR Wilcox. 2015. A framework for quantifying the magnitude and variability of community responses to global change drivers. Ecosphere 6:280. doi.org/10.1890/ES15-00317.1.

Grman, E, JL Orrock, CW Habeck, JA Ledvina, and LA Brudvig. 2015. Beta diversity in post-agricultural woodlands: tests of drivers and the role of scale. Ecography 38:614-621.

Grman, E, T Bassett, and LA Brudvig. 2014. A prairie plant community dataset for addressing questions in community assembly and restoration. Data Paper in Ecology 95:2363.

Grman, E, and LA Brudvig. 2014. Beta diversity among prairie restorations increases with species pool size, but not through enhanced species sorting. Journal of Ecology 102:1017-1024.

Brudvig, LA, E Grman, CW Habeck, JL Orrock, and JA Ledvina. 2013. Strong legacy of agricultural land use on soils and understory plant communities in longleaf pine woodlands. Forest Ecology and Management 310:944-955.

Grman, E, T Bassett, and LA Brudvig. 2013. Confronting contingency in restoration: management and site history determine outcomes of assembling prairies, but site characteristics and landscape context have little effect. Journal of Applied Ecology 50:1234-1243. doi.org/10.1111/1365-2664.12135. Selected as Editor’s Choice.

Grman, E, and TMP Robinson. 2013. Resource availability and imbalance affect plant-mycorrhizal interactions: a field test of three hypotheses. Ecology 94:62-71. doi.org/10.1890/12-0385.1.

Grman, E. 2013. Seedling light limitation across a natural productivity gradient. Journal of Plant Ecology 6:193-200. Selected as Editor’s Choice.

Grman, E,TMP Robinson, and CA Klausmeier. 2012. Ecological specialization and trade affect the outcome of negotiations in mutualism. The American Naturalist 179:567-581.

Grman, E. 2012. Plant species differ in their ability to reduce allocation to non-beneficial arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi. Ecology 93:711-718.

Ewert, DN, JB Cole, and E Grman. 2011. Wind energy: guidelines for siting and operating wind turbines in the Great Lakes region. The Nature Conservancy. http://conserveonline.org/library/wind-energy-great-lakes-regional-guidelines/view.html 

Grman, E, JA Lau, DR Schoolmaster Jr, and KL Gross. 2010. Mechanisms contributing to stability in ecosystem function depend on the environmental context. Ecology Letters 13:1400-1410.

Grman, E, and KN Suding. 2010. Within-year soil legacies contribute to priority effects during establishment of California grassland plants. Restoration Ecology 18:664-670.

Kiers, ET, LS Adler, EL Grman, and MGA van der Heijden. 2010. Manipulating the jasmonate response: How do methyl jasmonate additions mediate characteristics of aboveground and belowground mutualisms? Functional Ecology 24:434-443.

Grman, EL and HM Alexander. 2005. Factors limiting fruit production in Asclepias meadii in northeastern Kansas. The American Midland Naturalist 153:245­-256.

Additional Information