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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Faculty & Research

Faculty Profile

Heather Reynolds

Photo of Heather Reynolds
Research Images
Research photo by Heather Reynolds

Research photo by Heather Reynolds

Associate Professor of Biology

IU Affiliations
Center for Research in Environmental Sciences
IU Research & Teaching Preserve
School of Public and Environmental Affairs

Contact Information
By telephone: 812-855-0792/5-0841(lab)
By fax: 812-855-6705
JH 155A

Reynolds Lab website

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
Research Areas
  • Ecology
  • Microbial Interactions and Pathogenesis

Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1995
Postdoctoral Fellow, WK Kellogg Biological Station, Hickory Corners, MI, 1995-98


Community Outreach & Partnerships in Service-learning Faculty Award, Indiana University (2004)

Poynter Center Interdisciplinary Faculty Fellowship and Seminar, Indiana University (2005-06)

Service-Learning Partnership Award, Indiana University (2012)

Beth Wood Distinguished Service-Learning Faculty Award, Indiana University (2012, 2013, 2014)

Excellence in Research Campus Catalyst Award, Indiana University (2015)

Research Description

Research: Our lab's broad interests are in plant-environment interactions, with the goals of understanding the mechanisms shaping plant and microbial community composition and diversity, ecosystem functioning, and system responses to abiotic and biotic environmental changes. Within these broad areas, we are especially interested in the importance of plant-soil and plant-microbe relationships and the role of environmental heterogeneity. We work primarily with herbaceous systems (e.g. prairie, old-field, forest floor) using a combination of experimental and observational approaches.

The 21st Century has been dubbed "The Century of the Environment" in recognition of the importance of the world's diverse ecosystems for the continued health of our society and the increasing threats that human activities pose to this relationship. Thus, we are not only interested in testing and advancing ecological theory, but also in the application of ecological knowledge to restoration and sustainable agriculture, and in educational outreach.

Education and outreach: Service-learning is a form of experiential or active learning ("learning by doing") that involves partnerships between students and communities. In service-learning, the service is a mechanism by which students can deepen understanding of course content and its application to the "real world," and explore their own roles and responsibilities as citizens of society. I offer several undergraduate and graduate service-learning courses (see lab website).

Other education and outreach activity includes work with the Biology Club, Volunteers in Sustainability, and the Indiana University Architect's Office to establish green landscaping with native prairie and woodland species on campus; a research/outreach project with interdisciplinary colleagues focused on invasive species control and native plant restoration in urban woodlands; public presentations on ecological limits, the steady state economy, and the value of ecosystem services; and service on the City of Bloomington Environmental Commission (2001-2010). Promoting understanding of the environmental, social, and economic dimensions of human-environmental interactions is an important focus of my educational activities, and colleagues and I address this literacy in the volume "Teaching Environmental Literacy. Across Campus and Across the Curriculum," featuring essays by colleagues in Biology and many other campus units.

Select Publications
Bui Anh T K, Ha T H Nguyen, Minh N Nguygen, T T Tuyet-Hanh, Toan V Vu, Chuyen H Nguyen, and H L Reynolds. 2016. Accumulation and potential health risks of cadmium, lead and arsenic in vegetables grown near mining sites in Northern Vietnam. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 188:525 DOI 10.1007/s10661-016-5535-5.
Bauer J T and H L Reynolds. 2016. Restoring native understory to a woodland invaded by Euonymus fortunei: multiple factors affect success. Restoration Ecology 24:45-52.
Smith L M and H L Reynolds. 2015. Plant-soil feedback shifts from negative to positive with decreasing light in forest understory species. Ecology.
Smith L M and H L Reynolds. 2015. Extended leaf phenology, allelopathy, and inter-population variation influence invasion success of an understory forest herb. Biological Invasions 17:2299-2313.
Smith L M and H L Reynolds. 2015. Euonymus fortunei dominance over native species may be facilitated by plant-soil feedback. Plant Ecology 216:1401-1406.
Shannon-Firestone S, H L Reynolds, R Phillips, L Flory, A Yannarell. 2015. The role of ammonium oxidizing communities in mediating effects of an invasive plant on soil nitrification. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 90:266-274.
Mattingly W B and H L Reynolds. 2014. Soil fertility alters the nature of resource interactions in invaded grassland communities. Biological Invasions  16:2465-2478.
Shannon S, J Bauer, W Anderson, and H L Reynolds. 2014. Plant-soil feedbacks between invasive shrubs and native forest understory species lead to shifts in the abundance of mycorrhizal fungi. Plant and Soil 382:317-328.
Reynolds H L, A A Smith, and J R Farmer. 2014. Think globally, research locally: paradigms and place in agroecological research. Invited special section for American Journal of Botany 101:1631-1639.
Dickson T L, G G Mittelbach, H L Reynolds, and K L Gross. 2014. Height and clonality drive plant community responses to fertilization. Ecology 95:2443-2452.
Brandt A J, H de Kroon, H L Reynolds, and J H Burns. 2013. Soil heterogeneity generated by plant-soil feedbacks has implications for species recruitment and coexistence. Invited special feature for Journal of Ecology 101:277-286.

Smith A, Bentley M, and H L Reynolds. 2013. Wild bees visiting cucumber on Midwestern U.S. organic farms benefit from near-farm semi-natural areas. Journal of Economic Entomology 106:97-106.

Smith L M and H L Reynolds. 2013. Light, allelopathy, and post-mortem invasive impact. Biological Invasions 16:1131-1144.

Kleczewski N M, J T Bauer, J D Bever, K Clay and H L Reynolds. 2012. A survey of endophytic fungi of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) in the Midwest, and their putative roles in plant growth. Fungal Ecology 5:521-529.

Bauer J, S Shannon, R Stoops and H L Reynolds. 2012. Context dependency of the allelopathic effects of Lonicera maackii on seed germination. Plant Ecology 213:1907-1916.

Padilla F, W B Mattingly, B L Swedo, K Clay and H L Reynolds. 2012. Negative plant-soil feedback drives seedling competitive interactions of North American successional grassland species. Journal of Vegetation Science 23:667-676.

Shannon S, S L Flory and H L Reynolds. 2012. Competitive context alters plant-soil feedback in an experimental woodland community. Oecologia 169:236-243.

Bauer J T, N Kleczewski, J D Bever, K Clay and H L Reynolds. 2012. Nitrogen-fixing bacteria, arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and the productivity and structure of prairie grassland communities. Oecologia 170:1089-1098.

Smith L M and H L Reynolds. 2012. Positive plant-soil feedback may drive dominance of a woodland invader, Euonymus fortunei. Plant Ecology 213:853-860.

Reynolds H L and K Clay. 2011. Migration as an ecological process. Environmental Law 41:371-391.
Eilts J A, G G Mittelbach, H L Reynolds, and K L Gross. 2011. Resource heterogeneity, soil fertility, and species diversity: impacts of clonal species on plant communities. American Naturalist 177:574-588.
Glover J D, S W Culman, S Tianna DuPont, W Broussard, L Young, M E Mangan, J G Mai, T E Crews, L R DeHaan, D H Buckley, H Ferris, R Eugene Turner, H L Reynolds and D L Wyse. 2010. Harvested perennial grasslands provide ecological benchmarks for agricultural sustainability. Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Environment 137:3-12.
Mattingly W B, B L Swedo, H L Reynolds. 2010. Interactive effects of resource enrichment and resident diversity on invasion of native grassland by Lolium arundinaceum. Plant Ecology 207:203-212.
Reynolds H L and K A Haubensak. 2009. Soil fertility, heterogeneity and microbes: towards an integrated understanding of grassland structure and dynamics. Applied Vegetation Science 12:33-44.
Swedo B L, C Glinka, D R Rollo and H L Reynolds. 2008. Soil bacterial community structure under exotic versus native understory forbs in a woodland remnant in Indiana. Proceedings of the Indiana Academy of Sciences 117:7-15.
Houseman G R, G G Mittelbach, H L Reynolds, and K L Gross. 2008. Perturbations alter community convergence, divergence, and formation of multiple community states. Ecology 89:2172-2180.
Reynolds H L and T K Rajaniemi. 2007. Plant interactions: competition. pp. 457-480 In: Functional Plant Ecology, Second Edition , F I Pugnaire and F Valladares (editors), CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL.
Reynolds H L, G G Mittelbach, T Darcy-Hall, G Houseman, and K L Gross. 2007. No effect of varying soil resource heterogeneity on plant species richness in a low fertility grassland. Journal of Ecology 95:723-733.
Mattingly W B, R L Hewlate, and H L Reynolds. 2007. Species evenness and invasion resistance of experimental grassland communities. Oikos 116:1164-1170.

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