Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Kansas Biological Survey
Global change biology
Dr. Billings earned her Ph.D. in Ecology at Duke University in 1998.
Dr. Sharon Billings joined KU's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Kansas Biological Survey in 2003. She specializes in understanding how carbon, nitrogen, and water move through terrestrial ecosystems, with a focus on the influence of anthropogenic activity on the cycling of these resources. For example, she studies how rising concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide and changing precipitation patterns influence forest and grassland soils. She explores whether soils retain their stocks of organic carbon, or whether organic carbon is released back to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide via soil microbial activity, as well as the processes that generate nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. She also uses tree-rings to establish patterns of tree growth where rainfall is relatively limited. In addition, she is interested in understanding how land use change (i.e. forest growth on grassland soil, or planting crops on former grasslands) influences the amount and timing of a landscape's uptake and release of carbon.
Prior to coming to KU, Dr. Billlings was a research assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, where she also was a postdoctoral scholar. Dr. Billings received her doctorate from Duke University in 1998, her Master's degree from Duke in 1996, and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Hampshire in 1991.