Roy Turkington

Faculty Profile

Faculty Profile

Photo by: Elaine Simons Lane
Professor Emeritus

Experimental field tests of the determinants of community structure: competition, stress, disturance. Field tests of ecological theory: top-down and bottom-up control of vegetation; productivity gradients.

B.Sc. (1972) Ulster, Coleraine;
Ph.D. (1975) Univ Col lege N. Wales, Bangor
Post doc, University of Western Ontario, London, ON.
Visiting Professor, Univ College N. Wales 1985-86
Visiting Professor, Hebrew University Jerusalem, Israel 1992-1993
Visiting Professor , Akdeniz University, Antalya, Turkey 1999-2000.
Visiting Professor, N. Ireland Plant Breeding Station, N. Ireland 2000.
Visiting Professor, Kunming Inst. Botany, Kunming, China 2006-2007.
Visiting Professor, Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biologia Vegetal, Cordoba, Argentina 2013-2014

Contact Information

Research Interests

I am an experimental field ecologist and my students have been working in the understorey of the Boreal Forest (southwestern Yukon, Canada) since 1990. In addition, from 1992-1999 I did collaborative research with Deborah Goldberg in the Negev Desert (Israel), and over this past few years I have (or had) students in Israel, the Garry Oak ecosystem of southern British Columbia, and the Interior forests and grasslands of British Columbia. We focus on two primary questions: (i) how are plant communities structured, and (ii) how do they function?

The first question is addressed by two major sets of studies. First we are testing if the plant community is structured primarily by nutrient limitation, by herbivory, or by their interaction. Our experiments manipulate soil nutrient levels and herbivore levels, and we then monitor the consequences on individual plant species, populations, and communities. Second, we are testing hypotheses about the impacts of competition on community structure and if the magnitude of these impacts change in predictable ways along productivity gradients?

The second question is also addressed by major two sets of studies. First, we are using "functional group knock-out" experiments in which selected components of a plant community are removed and the consequent changes in community dynamics and ecosystem function monitored. Second, by simulating species loss from natural systems, in conjunction with seed and seedling additions, we can determine the effect of plant species identity on invasibility of a community, and the effect of the level of the disturbance of the community on subsequent invasion.

Boreal Forest, Yukon
Some of our Research Sites in the Southern Yukon

Selected Publications

FRASER,  L.H., HARROWER, W.L., GARRIS, H.W., DAVIDSON, S., HEBERT, P.D.N., HOWIE, R., MOODY, A., POLSTER, D., SCHMITZ, O.J., SINCLAIR, A.R.E., STARZOMSKI, B.M., SULLIVAN, T.P., TURKINGTON, R. & D. WILSON. A call for applying trophic structure to restoration. (Restoration Ecology)

XU, J., DENG, M., JIANG, X-L., WESTWOOD, M., SONG, Y-G. and R. TURKINGTON.  2015. Phylogeography of Quercus glauca (Fagaceae), a dominant tree of East Asian subtropical evergreen forests, based on three chloroplast DNA interspace sequences. (Tree Genetics & Genomes)

TURKINGTON, R. 2015. “John L. Harper.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Ecology. Ed. David Gibson. New York: Oxford University Press.

TREBERG, M. & R. TURKINGTON. 2014 Community- and species-level consequences of competition in an unproductive environment. PLOS 9(7)  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0102430

TURKINGTON, R., McLAREN, J.R. & M.R.T. DALE. 2014. Herbaceous community structure and function in the Kluane region. Arctic 67: Suppl. 1; 98–107.

KREBS, C.J., BOONSTRA,R. BOUTIN, S., SINCLAIR, A.R.E., SMITH, J.N.M., GILBERT, S., MARTIN, K., O'DONOGHUE & R. TURKINGTON. 2014. Trophic dynamics of the boreal forests of the Kluane region. Arctic 67: Suppl. 1; 71–81.

CARLYLE, C.N., FRASER, L.H. & R. TURKINGTON. 2014. Response of grassland biomass production to simulated climate change and clipping along a natural productivity gradient. Oecologia 174:1065-1073.