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headshot of Amber (Amy) Churchill

Amber (Amy) Churchill

Assisant Professor of Ecosystem Science

Environmental Studies Program


Amy Churchill is a plant ecologist conducting research on the consequences of global environmental change at the interface of plant communities and ecosystem ecology, with experience in a range of biomes and ecosystem types. Her research examines both broad patterns of ecosystem responses to global change as well as mechanisms for how plant communities may confer stabilizing or amplifying feedback, thereby impacting ecosystem responses to environmental change. 

Current projects include examining three main themes: 

  • Drivers of plant community and ecosystem resistance and recovery in the face of global change
  • Shifts in plant-plant resource interactions and impacts on ecosystem function
  • Seasonal community dynamics and consequences for ecosystem services under global change.

Recent publications:

  • Potter, T.S., Bowman, W.D., Churchill, A.C., Anacker, B.L. 2023. Plants species’ influence on and rhizosphere microbial communities depends on N availability. Plant and Soil. DOI: 10.1007/s11104-023-06148-7
  • Chandregowda, M.H., Tjoelker, M.G., Pendall, E., Zhang, H., Churchill, A.C., Power, S.A. 2023. Belowground allocation, root trait plasticity and productivity under drought and warming in a widespread pasture grass. Journal of Experimental Botany. 74(6):2127-2145. DOI: 10.1093/jxb/erad021
  • Zhang, H. Churchill, A.C., Anderson, I.C., Igwenagu, C., Power, S.A., Plett, J.M., Macdonald, C.A., Pendall, E., Carrillo, Y., Powell, J.R. 2023. Ecological stoichiometry reveals variation among mycorrhizal partners in phosphorus and nitrogen responses to warming and drought. Molecular Ecology. 32(1): 229-243. DOI: 10.1111/mec.16278.
  • Churchill A.C., Zhang, H., Fuller, K.J., Anderson, I.C, Barton, C.V.M., Carrillo, Y., Catunda, K.L.M., Chandregowda, M., Igwenagu, C., Jacob, V., Kim, G., Macdonald, C.A., Medlyn, B.E., Moore, B.D., Pendall., E., Plett, J.M., Post, A.K., Powell, J.R., Tissue, D.T., Tjoelker, M.G., Power, S.A. 2022. Pastures and Climate Extremes: Impacts of warming and drought on the productivity and resilience of key pasture species in a field experiment. Frontiers in Plant Science. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2022.836968.
  • Churchill, A.C., Faist, A.M. 2021. Consequences of aboveground invasion by non-native plants into restored vernal pools do not prompt same changes in belowground processes. Annals of Botany Plants. 13(6): 1-12. DOI: 10.1093/aobpla/plab042.


  • Ph.D. 2017, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Boulder
  • M.S. 2011, Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Institute of Arctic Biology
  • B.S./B.A., 2008, Biology and Environmental Studies. Stonehill College, Mass.

Research Interests

  • Plant ecology and plant-ecosystem feedbacks
  • Community-level interactions in plants and impacts on ecosystems
  • Plant-pollinator interactions under global change
  • Forage and mixed pasture ecosystem resilience
  • Global changes as drivers of ecosystem function and services

Teaching Interests

  • Churchill teaches courses focused on ecosystem function and services

  • as well as field methods and experimental design for students interested in ecology and global change. Courses taught include:

    • ENVI Global Change and Ecosystems (Fall)
    • ENVI Environmental Studies Capstone (Fall)
    • ENVI Biodiversity as an Ecosystem Service (Spring)
    • ENVI Field Methods in Ecosystem Ecology (Spring)


  • USDA AFRI NIFA Postdoctoral Fellowship
  • George Melendez Wright Youth Climate Change Initiative Fellowship
  • NSF GK-12 Project Extremes Fellowship

More Info

Personal website

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Curriculum Vitae

Curriculum Vitae