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Lars Hedin
Lars Hedin

George M. Moffett Professor of Biology, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, and Princeton Environmental Institute
Department Chair, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Ph.D., Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1989
M.S., Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT, 1986
B.S., Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 1983

Room: 222 Guyot Hall
Phone: 609-258-7325

Webpage: Hedlin Lab

Curriculum Vitae

Honors and Awards

  • Elizabeth Sulzman Award, the Ecological Society of America (for Batterman, Hedin, et al. 2013. Nature 502:224-227), 2014
  • Best Paper in Theoretical Ecology Award, the Ecological Society of America (for Menge, Hedin, et al. 2012. PLoS ONE 7:e42045), 2013
  • August T Larsson Visiting Professorship, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Uppsala, Sweden, 2012-2015
  • Thompson Reuters Person with Highest Percent Citation Increase in the field of Environment and Ecology, 2009
  • Elizabeth Sulzman Award, Ecological Society of America (for Menge, Hedin, et. al. 2008. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 105:1573-8), 2009
  • Allan Cox Visiting Fellow, School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University, and Department of Global Ecology of Carnegie Institution, 2007
  • Gene Likens Award, Ecological Society of America (for Houlton, Hedin, et. al. 2006. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 103:8745-8750), 2007
  • Murray F. Buell Award from the Ecological Society of America (for Perakis, Compton, and Hedin. 2005. Ecology 86:96-105), 1998
  • George Mercer Award, for “Outstanding Paper in the Science of Ecology” (Hedin et al. 1995. Ecology 76:493-509), Ecological Society of America, 1996

Concurrent University Appointments

  • Associated Faculty, Princeton Environmental Institute
  • Associated Faculty, Andlinger Center for Energy and the Environment


  • EEB417 Ecosystems and Global Change (2002-2016)
  • EEB/ENV302, Advanced Analysis of Environmental Systems, (2011-2015)
  • ENV201, Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Population, Land Use, Biodiversity, and Energy (2002-2010)
  • EEB533 (graduate seminar), Modeling Land Nutrient Cycles (2012)
  • EEB533 (graduate seminar), Nutrient Limitation, (2011)
  • EEB533 (graduate seminar), Nitrogen and Phosphorus in Complex Ecological Systems
  • EEB504 (graduate seminar), Fundamental Concepts in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (2009-10 and 2013-14)
  • ENV202, Fundamentals of Environmental Studies: Climate, Air Pollution, Toxics, and Water
  • EEB Junior Tutorial (ecology section leader)
  • EEB522 Fall semester colloquium (with M. Hau)
  • EEB522 Spring semester colloquium (with M. Hau)
  • ENV/GEO524 Environmental Seminar on “Population and the Environment”
  • ENV/GEO524 Environmental Seminar on “Media and the Environment”


Research Interests

Research in my laboratory centers on ecosystem analysis, with emphasis on the emergence and maintenance of geographically broad patterns in cycling of nutrients and greenhouse trace gases. Postdoctoral, graduate, and undergraduate students work on diverse topics that range from local-scale microbial processes to global-scale controls on ecosystem structure and function. Our current interests fall in three general areas: 1) Broad controls on nutrient cycles in temperate and tropical forests; 2) Emergence of macroscopic properties (e.g., stoichiometric ratios and ecosystem functions) from Darwinian selection; and 3) Biophysical controls on soil-atmosphere exchange of the greenhouse gas methane.

I am particularly interested in understanding how biogeochemical cycles are changing globally in response to large-scale modern human activities, and how such changes influence evolutionary environments of plants and microbes. While it is difficult to find ecosystems that are entirely free of human disturbances, we have for over a decade studied remote forests in southern Chile and Argentina that are historically free from atmospheric pollution, cutting, and other major human influences. These studies offer a "baseline" for how forests function naturally as biogeochemical systems, against which mechanisms and extents of human impacts can be better understood. We are presently expanding these studies to include tropical forests across the Hawaiian archipelago, the Amazon basin, Panama, and locations in Africa.

From an evolutionary perspective we seek to understand why macroscopic patterns in nutrient cycles emerge despite the complex interplay of myriad biotic and abiotic elements, and despite the propensity for evolution to alter organism-nutrient relations over time. We are developing a series of models to explore how plant and microbial functional properties are magnified through Darwinian selection on strategies such as competition, cooperative maximization, but also Nash-type interactions that appear dilutive at the ecosystem level.

Updated: December 8, 2017