James Elser joins ranks of elite faculty

October 21, 2009

By hammersmith

[Source: ASU News] – In another lifetime, ASU Regents’ Professor James Elser might have pursued his childhood passion for a life devoted to faith, as a priest, taking confessions rather than conducting experiments. However, his early desire to discover answers to deep questions took him into a career in science instead.

As a professor in the School of Life Sciences at Arizona State University, Elser has taken fields of study in new directions, both physically and experimentally. In the pursuit of the yet-to-be-known about the evolution, the flow of energy and materials in ecosystems and the impact of human activity in nature, Elser has traveled from the frozen stretches of Antarctica and the alpine lakes of Norway and Colorado to the Mongolian grasslands of China and the hot springs of Yellowstone National Park and Cuatro Cienegas, Mexico.

A scholar and adventurer, Elser examines the balance of the elements carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus in organisms and ecosystems and tries to understand their potential role in ecological and evolutionary dynamics. This focus emerges from Elser’s pioneering world view, known as the theory of “biological stoichiometry.”

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