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Ben Turner

Brian Allan: Ecology of Infectious Diseases
Alison Bell: Behavioral Ecology
May R. Berenbaum: Chemical Ecology
Jeffrey Brawn: Avian Ecology
Carla Cáceres: Aquatic Evolutionary Ecology
Zac Cheviron: Physiology and Evolution
Jim Dalling: Tropical Forest Ecology
Evan Delucia: Plant Ecology & Global Change
Rebecca Fuller: Fish Evolutionary Genetics
Katy Heath: Genomics of Mutualisms
Feng Sheng Hu: Ecosystem Ecology
Matthew Hudson: Bioinformatics & Genomics
Kevin Johnson: Avian & Insect Systematics
Angela Kent: Microbial Ecology
Andrew Leakey: Plants & Global Change
Jian Ma: Comparative Genomics
Ripan Malhi: Molecular Anthropology
Andrew Miller: Fungal Biodiversity
Ken Paige: Evolutionary Ecology
Surangi Punyasena: Paleobotany
Hugh Robertson: Insect Genomics
Gene Robinson: Bee Behavior & Genomics
Al Roca: Conservation Genetics
Sandra Rodriguez-Zas: Bioinformatics
Karen Sears: Evolutionary Development
Saurabh Sinha: Computational Genomics
Andrew Suarez: Ant Ecology & Evolution
Rachel J. Whitaker: Microbial Genomics
Last Name

STRI Mentor

Ben Turner

Research Interests

Effects of Abiotic and Biotic Components of Tropical Soils on Plant Communities.


Dr Turner studies nutrient cycling in tropical forests, with an emphasis on soil phosphorus dynamics and its influence on the distribution of plant species in the environment. He leads the SI-Geo/CTFS soils program, which involves detailed studies of soil taxonomy, carbon stocks, and nutrient mapping in the large forest dynamics plots in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

Professional Preparation

  • 1993–1996 B.Sc. (Hons), Department of Geography, University of Sheffield, UK
  • 1996–2000 Ph.D., Department of Geography, Royal Holloway, Univ. of London, UK
  • 1999–2001 Senior Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Durham, UK
  • 2001–2003 Soil Scientist, USDA–ARS Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research Laboratory, Kimberly, Idaho, USA
  • 2003–2004 Postdoctoral Scientist, University of Florida, Soil and Water Science Department, Gainesville, Florida, USA

Professional Appointments

  • 2004–Present Staff Scientist, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Republic of Panama
  • 2004–Present Courtesy Associate Professor, Soil and Water Science Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA
  • 2010–Present Adjunct Associate Professor, School of Plant Biology, University of Western Australia, Crawley, Western Australia, Australia

Selected Publications

  • Turner, B.L., Haygarth, P.M., 2001. Phosphorus solubilization in rewetted soils. Nature 411, 258.
  • Engelbrecht, B.M.J., Comita, L.S., Condit, R., Kursar, T.A., Tyree, M.T., Turner, B.L., Hubbell, S.P., 2007. Drought sensitivity shapes species distribution patterns in tropical forests. Nature 447, 80–82.
  • Turner, B.L., 2008. Resource partitioning for soil phosphorus: a hypothesis. Journal of Ecology 96, 698-702.
  • Hietz, P., Turner, B.L., Wanek, W., Richter, A., Nock, C.A., Wright, S.J., 2011. Long-term change in the nitrogen cycle of tropical forests. Science 334, 664–666.
  • Turner, B.L., Engelbrecht, B.M.J., 2011. Soil organic phosphorus in lowland tropical rain forests. Biogeochemistry 103, 297–315.
  • Wright, S.J., Yavitt, J.B., Wurzburger, N., Turner, B.L., et al., 2011. Potassium, phosphorus or nitrogen limit root allocation, tree growth and litter production in a lowland tropical forest. Ecology 92, 1616–1625.
  • Cernusak, L.A., Winter, K., Martínez, C., Correa, E., Aranda, J., Garcia, M., Jaramillo, C., Turner, B.L., 2011. Response of legume versus nonlegume tropical tree seedlings to elevated CO2 concentration. Plant Physiology 157, 372–385.
  • Punyasena, S.W., Dalling, J.W., Jaramillo, C., Turner, B.L., 2011. Technical comment on "The response of vegetation at the Andean flank in western Amazonia to Pleistocene climate change". Science 333, 1825.

Synergistic Activities

  • Lead editor of three volumes: Organic Phosphorus in the Environment (CAB International, 2005), Inositol Phosphates: Linking Agriculture and the Environment (CAB International, 2007), Ecology of the Podocarpaceae in Tropical Forests (Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2011).
  • Lead organizer of four international workshops: Organic Phosphorus in the Environment (Ascona, Switzerland, 2003), Inositol Phosphates in the Soil-Plant-Animal System (Sun Valley, Idaho, USA, 2005), Podocarpaceae in Tropical Forests: Ecology, Ecophysiology, and Mineral Nutrition (Sydney, Australia, 2009), Organic Phosphorus and the Nutrition of Plants (University of Western Australia, 2009).
  • Associate Editor of the journal Plant Ecology and Consulting Editor for Plant and Soil (Springer).
  • Recent Invited Presentations: Fourth International Symposium on Phosphorus Dynamics in the Soil–Plant Continuum (Beijing, China, 19–23 September 2010), CLIMMANI/INTERFACE Workshop on Nutrient Constraints on the Net Carbon Balance (Keflavik, Iceland, 15–17 June 2011), Korean Society of Environmental Agriculture 30th Anniversary Symposium (Jeju Island, Korea, 7–9 July 2011).
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