Sara Jackrel


Research in the Jackrel lab focuses on understanding when and how biological diversity at multiple scales regulates ecosystem functions. Much of our work extends beyond the traditional species-level dimension of diversity-function relationships by contributing to the recently emerging focus on within-species diversity. We test how ecosystem functions are regulated by different elements of intraspecific variation, including plasticity, genetic variation, and variation imparted by host-associated bacteria. Much of our work focuses on the plants, phytoplankton, and their associated microbiomes that regulate carbon cycles in lake, river, and riparian ecosystems. We seek to use empirical experiment-driven ecology and microbial genomics to better understand and make predictions regarding ecosystem functions amidst global change.

Select Publications

  • Jackrel, S.L., K. Schmidt, B.J. Cardinale, and V.J. Denef. 2020. Microbiomes reduce their host’s sensitivity to interspecific interactions. mBio 11.1:e02657-19
  • Jackrel, S.L., J.A. Gilbert, and J.T. Wootton. 2019. The origin, succession, and predicted metabolism of bacterial communities associated with leaf decomposition. mBio 10.5:e01703-19
  • Jackrel, S.L., J.D. White, J.T. Evans, K. Buffin, K. Hayden, O. Sarnelle, and V.J. Denef. 2019. Genome evolution and host microbiome shifts correspond with intraspecific niche divergence within harmful algal bloom-forming Microcystis aeruginosa. Molecular Ecology 28.17:3994-4011
  • Jackrel, S.L., A. Narwani, B. Bentlage, R.B. Levine, D.C. Hietala, P.E. Savage, T.H. Oakley, V.J. Denef and B.J. Cardinale. 2018. Ecological engineering helps maximize function in algal oil production. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 84.15:e00953-18
  • Jackrel, S.L. and T.C. Morton. 2018. Inducible phenotypic plasticity in plants regulates aquatic ecosystem functioning. Oecologia 186.4:895-906
  • Jackrel, S.L., S.M. Owens, J.A. Gilbert and C.A. Pfister. 2017. Identifying the plant associated microbiome across aquatic and terrestrial environments: The effects of primer type on taxa discovery. Molecular Ecology Resources 17:931-942
  • Jackrel, S.L., T.C. Morton and J.T. Wootton. 2016. Intraspecific leaf chemistry drives locally accelerated ecosystem function in aquatic and terrestrial communities. Ecology 97:2125-2135
  • Jackrel, S.L. and J.T. Wootton. 2015. Diversity of riparian plants among and within species shapes river communities. PLoS One 10: e0142362
  • Jackrel, S.L. and J.T. Wootton. 2015. Cascading effects of induced terrestrial plant defences on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystem function. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 1805: 20142522
  • Jackrel, S.L. and J.T. Wootton. 2014. Local adaptation of stream communities to intraspecific variation in a terrestrial ecosystem subsidy. Ecology 95:37-43
  • Jackrel, S.L. and H.K. Reinert. 2011. Behavioral responses of a dietary specialist, Queen Snakes (Regina septemvittata), to potential chemoattractants released by its prey. Journal of Herpetology 45:272-276
  • Heise-Pavlov, S.R., S.L. Jackrel and S. Meeks. 2011. Conservation of a rare arboreal mammal: habitat preferences of the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo, Dendrolagus lumholtzi. Australian Mammalogy 33:5-12
  • Jackrel, S.L. and R.S. Matlack. 2010. Influence of surface area, water level, and adjacent vegetation on bat use of artificial water sources. American Midland Naturalist 164:74-79
  • Klug, P.E., S.L. Jackrel and K.A. With. 2010. Linking snake habitat use to nest predation risk in grassland birds: the dangers of shrub cover. Oecologia 162:803-813


Sara Jackrel received her Ph.D. in Ecology & Evolution from the University of Chicago and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan. Sara joined the faculty of Ecology, Behavior and Evolution in 2020.