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Ricardo M. Holdo

Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
PhD, 2005 Princeton University

Office: 217 Tucker Hall
Phone: 573-882-4885
Additional: Website
Headshot of Ricardo M. Holdo


Research summary

Tree cover dynamics

Research description

I am interested in a range of ecological questions in the area of vegetation dynamics, with a focus on the role of disturbance, herbivory and resource limitation in structuring plant communities. I work in savanna systems and much of my research is devoted to understanding the drivers and consequences of variation in tree cover.

Some current research questions include: 1) What are the key stages and mechanisms of tree recruitment limitation in savannas? 2) How does partitioning and use of soil moisture among species influence tree communities and vegetation structure? 3) How does interspecific variation in tree functional traits across edaphic and climatic gradients affect community assembly processes in African savannas? My students and I use both theoretical and empirical tools to tackle these questions, including simulation and statistical modeling, field and greenhouse experiments and remote sensing approaches.

Select Publications

Select Publications

Ogada, D., Shaw, P., Beyers, R.L., Buij, R., Murn, C., Thiollay, J.M., Beale, C.M., Holdo, R.M., Pomeroy, D., Baker, N., Krüger, S.C., Botha, A., Virani, M.Z., Monadjem, A., Sinclair, A.R.E.: Another Continental Vulture Crisis: Africa's Vultures Collapsing toward Extinction. (2016) Conservation Letters, 9 (2), 89-97.

Morrison, T.A., Holdo, R.M., Anderson, T.M. Elephant damage, not fire or rainfall, explains mortality of overstorey trees in Serengeti. (2016) Journal of Ecology, 104 (2): 409-418.

Rugemalila, D.M., Anderson, T.M., Holdo, R.M. Precipitation and Elephants, Not Fire, Shape Tree Community Composition in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. (2016) Biotropica, . Article in Press.

Twine, W.C., Holdo, R.M. Fuelwood sustainability revisited: integrating size structure and resprouting into a spatially realistic fuelshed model (2016) Journal of Applied Ecology, 53 (6), pp. 1766-1776.

Anderson, T.M., Morrison, T., Rugemalila, D., Holdo, R., 2015. Compositional decoupling of savanna canopy and understory tree communities in Serengeti. Journal of Vegetation Science, 26:385-394.

Nippert, J.B., Holdo, R.M., 2015. Challenging the maximum rooting depth paradigm in grasslands and savannas. Functional Ecology, 29:739-745.

Holdo, R.M., Nippert, J.B., 2015. Transpiration dynamics support resource partitioning in African savanna trees and grasses. Ecology, 96:1466-1472.

Luhring, T.M., Holdo, R.M., 2015. Trade-offs between growth and maturation: the cost of reproduction for surviving environmental extremes. Oecologia, 178:723-732.

Holdo, R.M., Anderson, T.M. and Morrison, T., 2014. Precipitation, fire and shifting demographic bottlenecks in Serengeti tree populations. Landscape ecology 29:1613–1623.

Holdo, R.M. and Mack, M.C., 2014. Functional attributes of savanna soils: contrasting effects of tree canopies and herbivores on bulk density, nutrients and moisture dynamics. Journal of Ecology 102:1171-1182.

Lee, C.A., Voelker, S., Holdo, R.M., Muzika, R.M., 2014. Tree architecture as a predictor of growth and mortality after an episode of red oak decline in the Ozark Highlands of Missouri, U.S.A.. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 44:1005-1012.

Holdo, R.M., and Roach, R. R. 2013. Inferring animal population distributions from individual tracking data: theoretical insights and potential pitfalls. Journal of Animal Ecology 82:175-181

Holdo, R.M. 2013. Effects of fire history and N and P fertilization on seedling biomass, specific leaf area, and root:shoot ratios in a South African savanna. South African Journal of Botany 86:5-8.

Gaughan, A.E., Holdo, R.M., and Anderson, T.M. 2013. Using short-term MODIS time-series to quantify tree cover in a highly heterogeneous African savanna. International Journal of Remote Sensing 34:6865-6882.

Holdo, R.M. 2013. Revisiting the two-layer hypothesis: coexistence of alternative functional rooting strategies in savannas. PLoS ONE 8:e69625.

Holdo, R.M., Holt, R.D., and Fryxell, J.E. 2013. Herbivore-vegetation feedbacks can expand the environmental range of savannas: insights from a simple theoretical model. Oikos 122: 441–453.

Holdo, R.M., Mack, M.C., and Arnold, S.G. 2012. Tree canopies explain fire effects on soil nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon in a savanna ecosystem. Journal of Vegetation Science 23:352-360.

Holdo, R.M., Fryxell, J.M., Sinclair, A.R.E., Dobson, A.P., Holt, R.D. 2011. Predicted impact of barriers to migration on the Serengeti wildebeest population. PLoS ONE 6(1): e16370.

Holdo, R.M., Holt, R.D., Galvin, K., Polasky, S., Knapp, E., and Hilborn, R. 2010. Responses to alternative rainfall regimes and antipoaching enforcement in a migratory system. Ecological Applications 20:381-397.

Holdo, R.M., Holt, R.D., and Fryxell, J.M. 2009. Grazers, browsers, and fire influence the extent and spatial pattern of tree cover in the Serengeti. Ecological Applications 19:95-109.

Holdo, R.M., Sinclair, A.R.E., Metzger, K.L., Bolker, B.M., Dobson, A.P., Ritchie, M.E., and Holt, R.D. 2009. A disease-mediated trophic cascade in the Serengeti: implications for ecosystem C. PLoS Biology 7:e1000210.

Honors & Awards

Selected honors and awards

College of Arts and Sciences Faculty Fellowship for Excellence, University of Missouri 2014

Provost Outstanding Junior Faculty Research and Creative Activity Awards, University of Missouri 2014