John Sabo

Professor; Senior Sustainability Scientist
Phone: (480) 965-5904, Lab: (480) 727-7743
Office: LSA 322
Education: PhD, 2000, University of California, Berkeley

John Sabo is an ecologist who studies the importance of water in determining the viability and resilience of animal and plant populations in river and riparian ecosystems. He and his research team use large-scale field experiments and the application of stable isotopes to understand how drought and floods influence freshwater and terrestrial biodiversity. They also study how these extreme events affect food web structure.

He also develops statistical techniques to measure the resilience of river food webs and the fisheries that these food webs support. Sabo collaborates broadly across disciplines, synthesizing large datasets to answer questions about the impacts of floods and water scarcity on the interactions between humans and biodiversity.

Sabo’s work is being applied to problems in watershed management and freshwater sustainability to understand how water scarcity and extreme weather influence food security and biodiversity.

Select Publications

  • Allen, D.C., McCluney, K.M., Elser, S.R. and J.L. Sabo. Water as a trophic currency in dryland food webs.In Press.Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.
  • Sabo, J. L., J. C. Finlay, D. M. Post, and T. Kennedy. 2010. The role of discharge variation in scaling between drainage area and food chain length in rivers. Science 330:965-967.
  • Sabo, J. L., T. Sinha, L. C. Bowling, G. H. W. Schoups, W. W. Wallender, M. E. Campana, K. A. Cherkauer, P. Fuller, W. L. Graf, J. W. Hopmans, J. S. Kominoski, C. Taylor, S. W. Trimble, R. H. Webb, and E. E. Wohl. 2010. Reclaiming freshwater sustainability in the Cadillac Desert. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA)107(50):21256-21262. (Appeared as a Perspective piece in a special feature on drought in western North America. Article was covered online: by NY Times, Scientific American, Miller-McCune, and on the air by NPR -- KCLU, KNAU, KJZZ).
  • Sabo, J. L., and D. M. Post. 2008. Quantifying periodic, stochastic and catastrophic variation in the environment. Ecological Monographs 78(1):19-40.
  • Sabo, J. L., K. E. McCluney, Y. Y. Marusenko, A. C. Keller, and C. U. Soykan. 2008. Greenfall links aquifers to floodplain food webs. Ecological Monographs 78(4):615-631.

Additional links