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Benjamin Houlton

Professor; Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

Benjamin Houlton

Educational Background

Postdoctoral Scholar, 2007, Stanford University, Biological Sciences, and Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Global Ecology

Ph.D., 2005, Princeton University (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

M.S., 2000, Syracuse University (Environmental Engineering Science)

B.S., 1998, University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources (Water Chemistry, Chemistry Minor)



We investigate how people and ecosystems shape our world. Our mission is to increase science and solutions for the benefit of humanity, nature, food security, and the economy. We combine tools from microbial genetics, chemistry, data science, remote sensing and modeling in our global research studies. This includes investigating challenges facing food security, carbon capture and climate change, planetary health and resilience, and basic advances in Earth's biogeochemical cycles. 


Climate Change; Agricultural and Environmental Sustainability; Biogeochemical Cycles; Global Ecology; Carbon Capture and Removal; Planetary Resilience


  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Graduate Fields

  • Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


We are currently exploring the role of enhanced mineral weathering as a scalable carbon capture strategy across more than 100 acres of farmland. This work ties together farmers, ranchers, tribes and commercial industry. We are exploring biogeochemical principles and scientific questions related to geo-biology, carbon sequestration and plant-microbe interactions, in addition to questions of policy, model forecasting, and economics in this research. Additional work is focused on large scale biogeochemical cycles, particularly nitrogen-carbon interactions, nutrient limitations to ecological pattern and process, climate change risk, and the fate of the terrestrial carbon sink in the 21st century. 


Spring 2021


Please see a current list of publications here.


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