Bryan Foster

Professor, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Senior Scientist, Kansas Biological Survey
Ph.D., Michigan State University, 1996
Primary office:
Higuchi Hall


Dr. Foster studies the ecological forces that shape plant communities.


Broadly, research in our lab explores how biotic interactions, resource availability, and species pools interact to govern the assembly, diversity, and functioning of plant communities. We are also interested in understanding the impacts of management and human-induced global changes on biodiversity and ecosystem function and applying this understanding to the conservation and restoration of native plant communities.

Selected Publications

  • Langley, J. A., Chapman, S. K., Avolio, M.,  Bowman, W. D., Johnson, D. S., La Pierre, K. J., Isbell, F., Wilcox, K. R., Foster, B. L., Hovenden, M. J., Knapp, A. K., Koerner, S., Lortie, C., Megonigal, J. P. Newton, P., Reich, P. B., Smith, M. D., Suttle, B., and Tilman, D.  2018. Ambient changes exceed treatment effects on plant species abundance in global change experiments. Global Change Biology 24: 5668-5679.
  • Denning, K. R. and Foster, B. L. 2018. Taxon-specific associations of tallgrass prairie flower visitors with site-scale forb communities and landscape composition and configuration. Biological Conservation 227:74-81
  • Denning, K. R. and Foster, B. L. 2017. Flower visitor communities are similar on remnant and reconstructed tallgrass prairies despite forb community differences. Restoration Ecology doi: 10.1111/ rec.12615
  • Nathan J., Foster, B. L., Bever, J. D., Schwarting, J. and Alexander, H. M. 2017. Sowing density effects and patterns of colonization in a prairie restoration. Restoration Ecology doi:10.1111/rec.12550.
  • Murphy, C. A., Foster, B. L., and Gao, C. 2016. Temporal dynamics in rhizosphere bacterial communities of three perennial grassland species. Agronomy 2016 6 (1): 17.
  • Foster, B.L.,G.R. Houseman, D.R. Hall and S.E. Hinman (2015) Does tallgrass prairie restoration enhance the invasion resistance of post-agricultural lands? Biological Invasions 17: 3579-3590.
  • Haddad, N. M., Brudvig, L. A., Clobert, J., Davies, K. F., Gonzalez, A., Holt, R. D., Lovejoy, T. E., Sexton, J. O., Austin, M. P., Collins, C. D., Cook, W. M., Damschen, E. I., Ewers, R. M., Foster, B. L., Jenkins, C. N., King, A. J., Laurance, W. F., Levey, D. J., Margules, C. R., Melbourne, B. A., Nicholls, A. O., Orrock, J. L., Song, D.-X., & Townshend, J. R. (2015). Habitat fragmentation and its lasting impact on Earth’s ecosystems. AAAS Science Advances, 1(2). doi:10.1126/sciadv.1500052
  • Fraser, L. H., Pither, J., Jentsch, A., Sternberg, M., Zobel, M., Askarizadeh, D., Bartha, S., Beierkuhnlein, C., Bennett, J. A., Bittel, A., Boldgiv, B., Boldrini, I. I., Bork, E., Brown, L., Cabido, M., Cahill, J., Carlyle, C. N., Campetella, G., Chelli, S., Cohen, O., Csergo, A.-M., Díaz, S., Enrico, L., Ensing, D., Fidelis, A., Fridley, J. D., Foster, B., Garris, H., Goheen, J. R., Henry, H. A. L., Hohn, M., Jouri, M. H., Klironomos, J., Koorem, K., Lawrence-Lodge, R., Long, R., Manning, P., Mitchell, R., Moora, M., Müller, S. C., Nabinger, C., Naseri, K., Overbeck, G. E., Palmer, T. M., Parsons, S., Pesek, M., Pillar, V. D., Pringle, R. M., Roccaforte, K., Schmidt, A., Shang, Z., Stahlmann, R., Stotz, G. C., Sugiyama, S.-i., Szentes, S., Thompson, D., Tungalag, R., Undrakhbold, S., van Rooyen, M., Wellstein, C., Wilson, J. B., & Zupo, T. (2015). Worldwide evidence of a unimodal relationship between productivity and plant species richness. Science, 349(6245), 302–305. doi:10.1126/science.aab3916 ISSN: 0036-8075
  • Houseman, G. R., B. L. Foster and C. E. Brassil. 2014. Propagule pressure-invasibility relationships: testing the influence of soil fertility and disturbance with Lespedeza cuneata. Oecologia 174:511-520.
  • Long, Q., Foster, B. L., Kindscher, K. et al. 2014. Seed and microsite limitations mediate stochastic recruitment in a low-diversity prairie restoration.  Plant Ecology 15, 1287-1298.
  • Murphy, C. A. and B. L. Foster. 2014. Soil properties and spatial processes influence bacterial metacommunities within a grassland restoration experiment. Restoration Ecology 22: 685-691.
  • Wong, B. M., G. R. Houseman, and B. L. Foster. 2012. "Targeting Vulnerable Life-Stages of Sericea Lespedeza (Lespedeza cuneata) with Prescribed Burns" Invasive Plant Science & Management. 5(4). 487-493.
  • Alexander, H. M., B. L. Foster, F. Ballantyne, C. D. Collins, J. Antonovics, and R. D. Holt. 2012. "Metapopulations and metacommunities: combining spatial and temporal perspectives in plant ecology" Journal of Ecology. 100. 88-103.
  • Foster, B. L., E. J. Questad, C. D. Collins, C. A. Murphy, T. L. Dickson, and V. H. Smith. 2011. "Seed availability constrains plant species sorting along a soil fertility gradient" Journal of Ecology. 99. 473-481.
  • Dickson, T. L. and B. L. Foster. 2011. "Fertilization decreases plant biodiversity even when light is not limiting" Ecology Letters. 14. 380-388.
  • Questad, E. J., B. L. Foster, S. Jog, K. Kindscher, and H. Loring. 2011. "Evaluating patterns of biodiversity in managed grasslands with spatial turnover metrics" Biological Conservation. 144. 1050-1058.
  • Foster, B. L., I. S. Khavin, C. A. Murphy, V. H. Smith, M. E. Ramspott, K. P. Price, and K. Kindscher. 2010. "Integrated responses of grassland biodiversity and ecosystem properties to hay management: A field experiment" Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. 113. 103-119.
  • Aschenbach, T., B. L. Foster, and D. W. Imm. 2009. "The initial phase of a longleaf pine-wiregrass savanna restoration: species establishment and community responses" Restoration Ecology. 18. 762-771.
  • Foster, B. L. and T. Aschenbach. 2009. "Secondary succession, community assembly and restoration in grasslands and savannas"
  • Collins, C. D., B. L. Foster, and R. D. Holt. 2009. "Patch size effects on plant species decline in an experimentally fragmented landscape" Ecology. 90. 2577-2588.
  • Foster, B. L., K. Kindscher, G. R. Houseman, and C. A. Murphy. 2009. "Effects of hay management and native species sowing on grassland community structure, biomass and restoration" Ecological Applications. 18. 1884-1896.
  • Collins, C. D. and B. L. Foster. 2009. "Community-level consequences of mycorrhizae depend on Phosphorus availability" Ecology. 90. 2567-2576.
  • Foster, B. L. and C. D. Collins. 2009. "Colonization of successional grassland by Ulmus rubra Muhl. In relation to landscape position, habitat productivity, and proximity to seed source" The Torrey Botanical Society. 136. 392–402.
  • Collins, C. D. and B. L. Foster. 2008. "The role of topography and soil characteristics in the relationship between species richness and primary productivity in a Kansas grassland" Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. 11. 105-117.
  • Dickson, T. L. and B. L. Foster. 2008. "The relative importance of the species pool, productivity and disturbance in regulating grassland plant species richness: a field experiment" Journal of Ecology. 96. 937-946.
  • Questad, E. J. and B. L. Foster. 2008. "Coexistence through spatio-temporal heterogeneity and species sorting in grassland plant communities" Ecology Letters. 11. 717–726.
  • Questad, E. J. and B. L. Foster. 2007. "Vole disturbances and plant diversity in a grassland metacommunity" Oecologia. 153. 341-351.
  • Foster, B. L., C. A. Murphy, K. Keller, T. Aschenbach, E. J. Questad, and K. Kindscher. 2007. "Restoration of prairie community structure and ecosystem function in an abandoned hayfield: a sowing experiment" Restoration Ecology. 15. 652-661.
  • Jog, S., K. Kindscher, E. J. Questad, B. L. Foster, and H. Loring. 2006. "Remnant native prairie hay meadows as reservoirs of grassland plant species diversity" Natural Areas Journal. 26. 149-167.
  • Ashworth, S. M., B. L. Foster, and K. Kindscher. 2006. "Relative contributions of adjacent species set and environmental conditions to plant community richness and composition in a group of created wetlands" Wetlands. 26. 193-204.
  • Billings, S. A., C. M. Brewer, and B. L. Foster. 2006. "Incorporation of plant residues into soil organic matter fractions with grassland management practices in the North American Midwest" Ecosystems. 9. 805-815.
  • Murphy, C. A., B. L. Foster, M. E. Ramspott, and K. P. Price. 2006. "Effects of cultivation history and current grassland management on soil quality in Northeastern Kansas" Journal of Soil and Water Conservation. 61. 75-84.
  • Cook, W. M., M. J. Yao, B. L. Foster, R. D. Holt, and L. B. Patrick. 2005. "Secondary succession in an experimentally fragmented landscape: community patterns across space and time" Ecology. 86. 1267-1279.
  • Smith, V. H., B. L. Foster, J. P. Grover, R. D. Holt, M. A. Leibold, and F. J. deNoyelles. 2005. "Phytoplankton species richness scales consistently from laboratory microcosms to the world’s oceans" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 102. 4393-4396.
  • Foster, B. L., T. L. Dickson, C. A. Murphy, I. S. Karel, and V. H. Smith. 2004. "Propagule pools mediate community assembly and diversity-ecosystem regulation along a grassland productivity gradient" Journal of Ecology. 92. 435-499.
  • Murphy, C. A., B. L. Foster, M. E. Ramspott, and K. P. Price. 2004. "Grassland management and soil bulk density" Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science. 107. 45-54.
  • Foster, B. L. and T. L. Dickson. 2004. "Grassland diversity and productivity: the interplay of resource availability and propagule pools" Ecology. 85. 1541-1547.
  • Foster, B. L. and D. Tilman. 2003. "Seed limitation and the regulation of community structure in Oak Savanna grassland" Journal of Ecology. 91. 999-1007.
  • Ross, A., B. L. Foster, and G. Loving. 2003. "Contrasting effects of plant neighbors on invading Ulmus rubra seedlings in a successional grassland" Ecoscience. 10. 1032-1037.
  • Cook, W. M., K. T. Lane, B. L. Foster, and R. D. Holt. 2002. "Island theory, matrix effects, and species richness patterns in habitat fragments" Ecology Letters. 5. 619-623.
  • Foster, B. L., V. H. Smith, T. L. Dickson, and T. J. Hildebrand. 2002. "Invasibility and compositional stability in a grassland community: relationships to diversity and extrinsic factors" Oikos. 99. 301-308.
  • Foster, B. L.. 2002. "Competition, facilitation and the distribution of Schizachyrium scoparium along a topographic-productivity gradient" Ecoscience. 9. 355-363.
  • Foster, B. L.. 2001. "Constraints on colonization and species richness along a grassland productivity gradient: the role of propagule availability" Ecology Letters. 4. 530-535.
  • Foster, B. L. and D. Tilman. 2000. "Dynamic and static views of succession: testing the descriptive power of the chronosequence approach" Plant Ecology. 146. 1-10.
  • Foster, B. L.. 2000. "Competition at the population level along a standing crop gradient: a three-year field experiment in successional grassland" Plant Ecology. 151. 171-180.
  • Foster, B. L. and K. L. Gross. 1999. "Temporal and spatial variability of woody plant establishment in Michigan old-fields" American Midland Naturalist. 142. 229-243.
  • Foster, B. L.. 1999. "Establishment, competition, and the distribution of native grasses among Michigan old-fields" Journal of Ecology. 87. 476-489.
  • Foster, B. L. and K. L. Gross. 1998. "Species richness in a successional grassland: effects of nitrogen enrichment and plant litter" Ecology. 79. 2593-2602.
  • Taylor, O. R., G. M. Loper, B. L. Foster, and Kochansky. 1997. "Relative attractiveness of queen mandibular pheromone components to honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) drones" Jour. Apicultural Res.. 36.
  • Foster, B. L. and K. L. Gross. 1997. "Partitioning the effects of plant biomass and litter on Andropogon gerardi in old-field vegetation" Ecology. 78. 2091-2104.

    KU-calendar-full event list: EEB Seminars
    EEB Seminars

    EEB Seminars
    Due to COVID-19, ALL BIO3 seminars and Ecology seminars have been cancelled for the remainder of the Spring semester.

    Stay safe and wash your hands!




    One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities
    44 nationally ranked graduate programs.
    —U.S. News & World Report
    Top 50 nationwide for size of library collection.
    5th nationwide for service to veterans —"Best for Vets: Colleges," Military Times
    KU Today