John  Lambrinos


Ecosystem services
John Lambrinos
Associate Professor, Landscape Ecologist

We are beginning to understand that interactions between landscape elements underlie many of the important issues we face as a human society. I am fascinated by the ecological processes that tie landscapes together. 

OSU Campus
Department of Horticulture
4017 Ag and Life Sciences Bldg
Corvallis, OR 97331-7304
United States
(541) 737-3484


  • On-farm habitat restoration.
  • Habitat for beneficial insects.
  • Ecosystem services.

Quantifying Ecosystem Services

Landscapes provide us with a number of valuable goods and services. Accurate information about ecosystem services is critical for making informed decisions about land use. I just finished an NRCS funded project that developed a practical tool to help folks evaluate the current and potential shade provided by vegetation along stream reaches in the Willamette valley. While this may sound a bit arcane, stream temperature is a critical component of habitat for many aquatic species such as salmon. Unfortunately, the water temperature in many of our streams has increased partly because of declines in the shade provided by streamside vegetation. This tool allows anyone to get an idea about the current shade condition of their stream, as well as its potential for restoration. The project was collaboration with Michael Guzy of Biological and Ecological Engineering, the Center for Sustainable Plant Research and Outreach (SPROut), and the Institute for Natural Resources. You can find more information about the project and a link to the web tool itself here

One important ecosystem service is the protection that arthropod natural enemies provide our crops. We currently don't have a very good understanding of how natural enemies move around in landscapes or how changes to landscapes influence the services they provide. Two of my graduate students on working on projects that are asking these questions. Michael Russell and I are collaborating with Gwendolyn Ellen and Paul Jepson of the OSU Integrated Plant Protection Center on a USDA Western SARE funded project to test the effectiveness and improve the design of beneficial beetle habitat on farms. The work uses participatory on-farm research in collaboration with several regional farmers. Tammy Winfield and I are also collaborating with Gwendolyn Ellen , Paul Jepson and Len Coop on a project funded by the USDA Pest Management Alternatives Program to develop and implement conservation biological control by parasitoids of leafroller pests in caneberries. We are evaluating existing resources for leafroller parasitoids on cooperator farms using on-farm floral resource surveys and laboratory assessments of parasitoid preferences for different floral resources.

Urban Ecology and the Functional Design of Urban Ecosystems

I have had several students work on projects evaluating appropriate designs for and quantifying the potential benefits from green roofs in the Pacific Northwest. Green roofs are a promising technology that uses vegetative surfaces on roofs to moderate storm water pulses, moderate heat flux, and potentially provide habitat for beneficial arthropods. Check out this video featuring Erin Schroll, one of my former graduate students.

Invasive Species and Ecosystems Engineers

Invasions of non-native species are profoundly changing the world's ecosystems. Predicting invasive spread and impact requires understanding processes that take place at the intersection of wild, urban, and agricultural landscapes. I have studied the spread of pampas grass (Cortaderia) in Mediterranean-type shrublands and the spread of Atlantic cordgrass (Spartina) in Pacific estuaries. The Spartina work was part of a large Biocomplexity project at UC Davis. Extending this work, I am currently investigating how wetland ecosystems recover following the eradication of invasive Spartina in Willapa Bay, WA. Spartina is an example a species that strongly modifies its physical surroundings…i.e. an ecosystem engineers. This is a bad thing in the context of an invasion, but ecosystem engineers can also be important producers of ecosystem services and effective tools for achieving restoration goals.

Lab Members

Mike Russell (PhD student)
Mike is interested in understanding native plant communities as well as the role biodiversity plays on our farm landscapes. He is currently working on understanding the ecology of beneficial beetles on farms.

Tammy Winfield (MS student)
Tammy is interested in insects, spatial ecology, and GIS analysis. She is currently working on understanding the ecology of beneficial parasitoids in caneberry fields.

Andy Gorby (undergraduate student)
Andy is conducting his senior research project investigating how substrate composition influences plant performance on green roofs.


Hort 318. Ecology of Managed Ecosystems

Hort 5XX. Ecological Horticulture



2000 Ph.D., Biology, University of California, Los Angeles. Dissertation title: The expansion and impact of alien pampas grass in California
1992 B.A., Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley

Professional Appointments

2006-present Assistant Professor, Department of Horticulture, Oregon State University
2001-2005 Postdoctoral Researcher, University of California, Davis.
2000-2001 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles.
1999-2000 Fellow, Mildred E. Mathias Botanic Garden.
1998-2000 Instructor, University of California, Los Angeles. Courses: Field Ecology of Southern California; The Biology of Introductions and Invasions; Exploring Chaparral Habitats.
1996-1997 Instructor, California State University, Los Angeles. Course: Introductory Biology, Model Hispanic Health Careers Opportunity Program.
1993-1997 Teaching Assistant, University of California, Los Angeles. Courses: Tropical Field Biology; General Biology; Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; Ecology.
1990-1992 Undergraduate Research Fellow, National Institutes of Health.

Professional Activities

2004-present NCEAS working group participant. Habitat modification in conservation problems: modeling invasive ecosystem engineers.
2004 Session organizer. ESA Annual Meeting, Invasive ecosystem engineers in the west: effects on community function.
2003-present Ad-hoc subject editor, Ecology
2002-present Book review contributor. Plant Systematics and Evolution 237:108-110. Plant Systematics and Evolution 243:249-257.
2000-present Peer review. Diversity and Distributions, Ecology, CALFED Bay-Delta program, Journal of Vegetation Science, Acta Oecologia, Ecoscience.
1998-1999 Secretary, Biological Sciences Council. Graduate Student Assoc., UCLA
1996 Member, Admissions and Support Committee. Department of Biology, UCLA.
1995-1999 President, UCLA Ecology Club

Research Funding

2006 NRCS, Conservation Innovation grant ($175,097)
2006 L.L. Stewart Faculty Development Award (with D. Sandrock (PI), $2000)
1999 Latin American Center Research Grant ($3000)
1997, 1998 Steven A. Vavra Research Fellowship ($5000 each year)
1998 Botanical Society of America Travel Grant ($500)
1997 UCLA Graduate Fellowship ($5000)

Invited Talks/Symposia

2006 Department of Botany and Plant Pathology Seminar, Oregon State University. Title: Manageing the engineers: the importance of ecosystem engineers in conservation and restoration.
2005 Todd Spieker Colloquium Series, UCLA Geography Dept. Title: How Space and time change the context of plant invasions.
2004 Third International Conference on Invasive Spartina. Title: Regulators of Spartina alterniflora recruitment in Willapa Bay, WA.
2004 California Exotic Pest Plant Council Annual Symposium. Title: A tale of two invaders: the dynamic history of pampas grass and jubata grass in California.
2004 Public Science Outreach Program, Coastal Resources Alliance, WSU. Title: What is the impact of Spartina alterniflora wrack on shoreline function in Willapa Bay, WA?
2003 Santa Barbara Co. Noxious Weed Management Area Noxious Weed Seminar. Title: The history and impact of Cortaderia in California’s natural areas.
2002 California Exotic Pest Plant Council Annual Symposium. The creeping loss of California’s once widespread shrublands to pampas grass and other aliens.

I accept graduate students for Horticulture


Some Selected Publications
Schroll, E*., J.G. Lambrinos, and D. Sandrock. 2011. An evaluation of plant selections and irrigation requirements for extensive green roofs in the Pacific northwestern U.S. HortTechnology 21.

Schroll, E*., J.G. Lambrinos, D. Sandrock, and T. Righetti. 2011. The role of vegetation in regulating stormwater runoff from green roofs in a winter rainfall climate. Ecological Engineering., doi:10.1016/j.ecoleng.2010.12.020.

Anderson, M+, Lambrinos, J.G., Schroll, E. 2010. The potential value of mosses for stormwater management in urban environments. Urban Ecosystems 13:319-332.

Jones , C.G., GutiƩrrez , J.L., Byers J.E., Crooks, J.A., Lambrinos, J.G., and Talley, T.S. 2010. A framework for understanding physical ecosystem engineering by organisms. Oikos 119:1862-1869.

Lambrinos, J.G. and Bando, K.J. 2008. Habitat modification inhibits conspecific seedling recruitment in populations of an invasive ecosystem engineer. Biological Invasions 10:729-741.

Tyler, A.C., J.G. Lambrinos, and E.D. Grosholz. 2007. Nitrogen inputs promote the spread of an invasive marsh grass. Ecological Applications 17: 1886–1898.

Hastings, A., J.E. Byers, J.A. Crooks, K. Cuddington, C.G. Jones, J.G. Lambrinos, T.S. Talley, and W.G. Wilson. 2007. Ecosystem Engineering in Space and Time. Ecology Letters 10:153-164.

Melbourne BA, Cornell HV, Davies KF, Dugaw CJ, Elmendorf S, Freestone AL, Hall RJ, Harrison S, Hastings A, Holland M, Holyoak M, Lambrinos J, Moore K, Yokomizo H 2007. Invasion in a heterogeneous world: resistance, coexistence or hostile takeover? Ecology Letters 10: 77-94.

Byers,J.E., Jones, C.G., Cuddington, K., Talley, T.S., Hastings, A., Lambrinos, J.G., Crooks, J.A., and Wilson, W.G. 2006. Using Ecological Engineers to restore ecological systems. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 21: 493-500.

Lambrinos, J.G. 2006. Spatially variable propagule pressure and herbivory influence invasion of chaparral shrubland by an exotic grass. Oecologia 147:327-334.


Outreach and Extension

2005 South Bend, WA Kiwanis Club and Raymond, WA Lions Club. Workshops and talks: "The battle against Spartina"
2005 South Bend High School. Lecture: "Spartina invasion and control"