Co-Directors:  Dr. Katharine Hayhoe (
  Office of the Vice President for Research

Vision Statement and Mission

The Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University will serve as the regional hub to address the interactive effects of climate across the full array of landscapes within the South Central region of the U.S., providing expertise for linking regional climate projections to soil processes, plant productivity, patterns of biodiversity, conservation initiatives, ecosystem services, water policy and planning, agricultural production, rural economic preparedness and the sustainability of natural and agroecosystem, and communicating with stakeholders to develop and apply this information to real world decision making and planning in the Southern Plains.

Researchers at TTU have the expertise and experience to address key aspects of climate research critical for informing and developing sustainable policy and planning decisions at multiple scales for both natural and managed ecosystems, landscapes and watersheds, including:

  1. Developing high-resolution climate projections that can be used to understand the potential effects of future changes in precipitation, temperature, and other environmental conditions on local watershed management and planning for surface water;
  2. Determining how key biotic characteristics of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems across the South Central U.S. will vary in responsiveness to predicted climate change and associated anthropogenic influences at a watershed to landscape levels;
  3. Determining how changes in climate may alter ecosystem-facilitated biogeochemical cycles, associated greenhouse gases, and energy feedbacks to the climate system, including the impacts on net ecosystem exchange, evapotranspiration, groundwater recharge, and surface- vs. groundwater use;
  4.  Determining key thresholds for regional ecosystems structure and function at which changes in climate will alter patterns of biodiversity, spread of invasive species, impacts on wildlife,  and the sustainability of agroecosystems, including water availability for agriculture and net yields for specific crops;
  5. Development of evidence-based information to the public and to policy makers involving education and engagement materials, programs and forums that provide stakeholder groups decision making tools, increased awareness, understanding and appreciation of climate induced effects and mitigation solutions to changing structure and function of watersheds and agroecosystems.

The purpose of the center will be to provide the necessary framework to allow agricultural economists, biologists, climate scientists, ecologists, engineers, hydrologists, social scientists, and many other experts at TTU and elsewhere to link their scientific expertise in strategic partnerships to develop sound management and development policies that will be robust in the face of an uncertain future.

Faculty Participants

College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Clint Boal – Texas Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Michael Farmer – Department of Agricultural Economics
Kerry Griffis-Kyle - Natural Resources Management
Jeff Johnson - Natural Resources Management
Reynaldo Patino – Texas Cooperative Fish & Wildlife Research Unit
Mark Wallace- Natural Resources Management

College of Architecture

David Driskell
Chris Taylor

College of Arts and Sciences

Sandra Diamond – Biological Sciences
Robert Bradley –Biological Sciences
Katharine Hayhoe –Political Sciences
Juske Horita - Geosciences
Jeff Larsen - Psychology
Nancy McIntyre – Biological Sciences
Kevin Mulligan – Geosciences and Director of the Center for Geospatial Technology
Dennis Patterson – Political Sciences
Michael San Francisco – Biological Sciences
John Schroeder – Atmospheric Sciences, Mesonet and director of WISE
John Zak – Biological Sciences

Honors College

Susan Thomlinson – Director of the Environment & Humanites Major

Whitacre College of Engineering

Daan Liang -  Construction Engineering and Engineering Technology
Ken Rainwater – Civil Engineering and Director of the Water Resources Center
Annette Hernandez –Civil Engineering

Adjunct Faculty

Paxton Payton – USDA-ARS
Tom Arsuffi – Llano River field Station, Junction TX
Stephen Cox – Pathogen Research Center


Current Climate Science Projects

Modeling of climate change & dengue fever dynamics in Texas (Cox and Erickson)

Linking soil microbial structure and function, nutrient dynamic and plant community composition and ecophysiology to changes in precipitation frequency and magnitude in a Chihuahuan Desert Grassland (Zak)

Climate change, water supply, and impacts on agriculture Farmer & student - survey on attitudes and language related to sustainability and the environment in TX (Johnson, Rainwater, Hernandez )

Integrated Assessment of Climate and Landscape Change in the Southeast United States (Hayhoe)

Modeling and Predicting the Influence of Climate Change on Texas Surface Waters and their Aquatic Biotic Communities (Patino, Hayhoe and Taylor)

Understanding the Ecology, Habitat Use, Phenology, and Thermal Tolerance of Lesser Prairie-Chickens (Boal)

Developing sustainable agroecosystems in semi-arid landscapes under altered precipitation frequency and magnitude (Payton, Zak)
Physiological response of crop plants (peanut, cotton, safflower) to timing and duration of deficit irrigation (Payton)

Environmental Factors Influencing the Spread, Growth, and Toxicity of Golden Alga (Patino, Grabowski)

Linking below-ground and above-ground controls on carbon and water fluxes in desert ecosystems of the Southwest (Zak-TTU) Collaborators – Kiona Ogle (Arizona State), Travis Huxman (University of Arizona), Michael Loik (University of California, Santa Cruz), Stan Smith (University of Nevada, Las Vegas),

Downscaled Temperature/Precipitation Projections, and Secondary Climate Variables for the Mobile County Region (Hayhoe)


International Climate Science Projects

Eucalypt growth in past and future environments – a novel approach to understanding the impacts of atmospheric [CO2] and climate Collaborators – Nathan Phillips (Boston University), Barry Logan (Bowdoin College), Jim Lewis (Fordham University), Owen Atkin (Australian National University) 

Establishing the physiological basis for drought-induced mortality: interaction with rising [CO2] and global warming Collaborators – Brendan Choat (University of Western Sydney, Australia), Travis Huxman (University ofArizona), Nathan Phillips (Boston University), Tony O’Grady (CSIRO – Australia), Belinda Medlyn (Macquarie University, Australia)

 Woodland response to elevated [CO2] in FACE: does phosphorus limit the sink for carbon? Collaborators – David Ellsworth (University of Western Sydney)
Quantifying Key Drivers of Climate Variability and Change for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean (Hayhoe)

Selected Publications TTU-CSC members in bold)

  1. Patrick, L., J. Cable, D. Ignace, D. Potts, G. Barron-Gafford, N. Van Gestel, T. Robertson, H. Alpert, A. Griffith, T. Huxman, J. Zak, M. Loik and D. Tissue. 2007. Effects of an increase in summer precipitation on leaf, soil and ecosystem fluxes of CO2 and H2O in a sotol-grassland in Big Bend National Park, Texas. Oecologia 151:704-718. 

  2. Bell, C., N. McIntyre, S. Cox, D. Tissue and J. Zak. 2008. Soil microbial responses to temporal variations of moisture and temperature in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland. Microbial Ecology 56:153-167.  

  3. Robertson, T., C.W. Bell, J. Zak and D. Tissue. 2009. Precipitation timing and magnitude differentially affect aboveground annual net primary productivity in three perennial species in a Chihuanuan Desert grassland. New Phytologist 181:230-242.

  4. Patrick, L., K. Ogle, C.W. Bell, J. Zak and D. Tissue. 2009. Physiological responses of two contrasting desert plant species to precipitation variability are differentially regulated by soil moisture and nitrogen dynamics. Global Change Biology 15:1214-1229.

  5. Kottapalli, K.R., R. Rakwal, J. Shibato, G. Burow, D. Tissue, J. Burke, N. Puppala, M.
    Burow and P. Payton. 2009. Physiology and proteomics of the water-deficit stress response in three contrasting peanut genotypes. Plant, Cell and Environment 32:380-407.

  6. Logan, B.A., A. Combs, K. Myers, R. Kent, L. Stanley and D.T. Tissue. 2009. Seasonal response of photosynthetic electron transport and energy dissipation in the eighth year of exposure to elevated atmospheric CO2 (FACE) in Pinus taeda (loblolly pine). Tree Physiology 29:789-797.

  7. Bell, C.W., V.A. Martinez, N. McIntyre, S. Cox, D.T. Tissue and J. Zak. 2009. Linking microbial community structure and function to seasonal differences in soil moisture and temperature in a Chihuahuan Desert grassland.  Microbial Ecology 58:827-842.

  8. Robertson, T.R., J.C. Zak and D.T. Tissue. 2010. The impact of variable natural and supplemental precipitation on species richness and plant density in a sotol grassland in the Chihuahuan Desert. Oecologia 162: 185-197.

  9. Ghannoum, O., N. Phillips, J.P. Conroy, R. Smith, R. Attard, R. Woodfield, B.A. Logan, J.D. Lewis and D.T. Tissue. 2010. Exposure to pre-industrial, current and future atmospheric CO2 and temperature differentially affects growth and photosynthesis in Eucalyptus. Global Change Biology 16: 303-319.

  10. Barton, C., D. Ellsworth, B. Medlyn, D. Tissue, R. Duursma, M. Adams, D. Eamus, J. Conroy, R. McMurtrie, J. Parsby and S. Linder. 2010. Whole tree chambers for elevated CO2 experimentation and tree-scale flux measurements in south-eastern Australia: the Hawkesbury Forest Experiment.  Agriculture and Forest Meteorology 150: 941-951.

  11. Lewis, J., J. Ward and D. Tissue. 2010. Phosphorus supply drives nonlinear responses of cottonwood (Populus deltoides) to increases in CO2 concentration from glacial to future concentrations. New Phytologist 187:438-448.

  12. Ghannoum, O., N. Phillips, M. Sears, B. Logan, J. Lewis, J. Conroy and D. Tissue. 2010. Photosynthetic responses of two eucalypts to industrial-age changes in atmospheric [CO2] and temperature. Plant Cell and Environment 33: 1671-1681.

  13. Logan, B.A, C. Hricko, J.D. Lewis, O. Ghannoum, N.G. Phillips, R. Smith, J.P. Conroy and D.T. Tissue. 2010. Examination of pre-industrial and future [CO2] reveals the temperature-dependent CO2 sensitivity of light energy partitioning at PSII in eucalypts. Functional Plant Biology 37: 1041-1049.

  14. Tissue, D. and J. Lewis. 2010. Photosynthetic responses of cottonwood seedlings to glacial through elevated atmospheric CO2 vary with phosphorus supply. Tree Physiology 30: 1361-1372.

  15. Cable, J.M., K. Ogle, R. Lucas, T. Huxman, M. Loik, S. Smith, D. Tissue, B. Ewers, E. Pendall, J. Welker, T. Charlet, M. Cleary, A. Griffith, R. Nowak, M. Rogers, H. Steltzer, P. Sullivan and N. van Gestel. 2011. The temperature responses of soil respiration in deserts: a seven desert synthesis. Biogeochemistry 103:71- 90.

  16. Crous, K., J. Zaragoza-Castells, M. Loew, D. Ellsworth, D. Tissue, M. Tjoelker, C. Barton, T. Gimeno and O. Atkin. 2011. Seasonal acclimation of leaf respiration in Eucalyptus saligna trees: impacts of elevated atmospheric CO2 and summer drought. Global Change Biology 17: 1560-1576.

  17. Ayub, G., R.A. Smith, D.T. Tissue and O.K. Atkin. 2011. Impacts of drought on leaf respiration in darkness and light in Eucalyptus saligna exposed to industrial-age atmospheric CO2 and growth temperature. New Phytologist (in press). doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2011.03673.x

  18. Pinto, H, DT Tissue and O Ghannoum. 2011. Panicum millioides (C3-C4) does not have improved water or nitrogen economies relative to C3 and C4 congeners exposed to industrial-age climate change. Journal of Experimental Botany doi:10.1093/jxb/err005.

  19. Zeppel MJB, JD Lewis, B Medlyn, CVM Barton, RA Duursma, D Eamus, MA Adams, N Phillips, DS Ellsworth, M Forster and DT Tissue. 2011. Interactive effects of elevated CO2 and drought on nocturnal water fluxes in Eucalyptus saligna. Tree Physiology doi: 10.1093/treephys/tpr024.

  20. Aranjuelo, I, AL Ebbets, RD Evans, DT Tissue, S Nogues, N van Gestel, P Payton, V Ebbert, WW Adams III, RS Nowak and SD Smith. 2011. Maintenance of C sinks sustains enhanced C assimilation during long-term exposure to elevated [CO2] in Mojave Desert shrubs. Oecologia doi: 10.1007/s00442-011-1996-y.

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